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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey & a bit Christmas in Healdsburg

I hope that your Thanksgiving Holiday was as enjoyable as the one we had . . . we even had a full "leftover" dinner with Turkey and all the trimmings as well. This week was all about a "holiday" feeling for us. The weather too played a major role in that. We had stormy, rainy weather up until Thanksgiving Day and then  we had summery sunshine  . . . even thought about air conditioning turning the thermostat down a bit . . .

But no matter the temperature -- it is definitely FALL:

And you can see what has fallen. Even though we removed a couple of the biggest offenders, we have plenty of multi-colored leaves to go around. Thankfully it is not nearly like the leaves we dealt with at our previous home -- 10-12 mature oaks, three very large liquid ambers and a variety of smaller trees.

Dino again waits patiently while I photograph -- and then sweep up the latest supply.

Dino's Week at GDB Training

Dino turned 14 months old this week and when we went to training we were hoping NOT to hear that he would be recalled soon. I received an email from the family raising one of Dino's litter mates (Darlo) up in Washington State and Darlo is being recalled on December 9th for advanced training. Another sibling (Desiree), also up in Washington State is being recalled in early January . . .

Above you can see many of the puppies in various exercises and poses including Dino exhausted in the bottom right. Gail & I are in our yellow rain jackets as it had been storming most of the day. BUT a bit of sunshine for us as well as we were told that Dino probably would not be recalled in December, though circumstances could change . . . 

Two Newsworthy Items

Fortunately we have a break in the local disaster news in our country, enough so that a couple of other stories caught our interest:

The first article is a refreshing story about a woman and her prized automobile -- a 1930 Packard 740 roadster -- she bought it in the 1940s and fixed it up and has been driving it ever since. According to the article in she has had her driver's license for 90 years (got it when she was 12).

She doesn't drive it everyday but she definitely still drives it on a regular basis AND even changes the oil herself . . . she's 32 years older than me, it's hard to imagine.

The second article -- entitled "Road to Progress" is also hard to imagine, but in a different sense. I would have thought that in a country like China, this is not something that would be allowed to happen. An entire freeway like road is all but finished but the above occupied home remains.

There might be some positives for the stubborn owner like, no raking of leaves, they would all be blown away by passing vehicles (if they had any trees . . .).  Then there is the convenience of merging into traffic as soon as you left home. I have a hard time wondering what will come of this -- time will tell.

Our "Leftover" Dinner & activities

We always cook our own turkey even if going out for Thanksgiving. This year was no different. I have heard that many other families (like my Sister's) do the same thing. There is nothing quite like having turkey and all the trimmings for a few meals after the main event -- typically we only have a turkey once or twice a year.

Above are some of the "fixins" for a great four-day Holiday. It all centers around "the bird" and this year for a variety of reasons the bird was roasted in pieces. We cut up the turkey and cooked the dark meat separately from the white meat. As a matter of fact I removed the bones from the breast and rolled it with some ground pork and some stuffing and roasted that in the Ninja. All came out really tasty and was so easy to carve at the table . . .

The other activities included lots of football this year along with a piano recital from Gail and her ever-present needle-pointing work. It was and IS a great four days -- but tomorrow it is back to the grind . . . for some of us anyway.

Blackened Friday

In days years gone past I (not so much Gail) might have been tempted to venture out to the major retailing locations on "black" Friday -- but not this year, nor even last year. But we did have an absolutely great time in our local "downtown" events-filled afternoon. We walked to town along with Dino and joined the festivities while it was still sunny and returned home in the moonlight.

Above are some of the captured storefronts, walkways and "things" going on for the day. Besides the horse-drawn carriages there were musicians on the street, cheerleaders, all kinds of people and of course the tree lighting AND Santa. 

It felt magical in a way that is hard to put into words. As the evening darkness came on and the interior lights shown more -- since we are a town of a "few" wine-tasting spots, the festive atmosphere grew as we walked around. Dino got tons of attention as he proudly wore his new holiday neckware. 

Walking back home we spotted a huge tree with the moon rising just above it and we were accompanied by many other families coming into and leaving also . . .

Status of Genealogy Work

This week as I often do, I have spent most of my "family history" work on researching another family's tree. So I do not have much to report on for our tree. There is a benefit in working on someone else's tree besides the obvious appreciation,  there is always the possibility that I'll discover other ways of researching and this week that is also true.

While looking for an old business that someone on the other tree used to own and operate I discovered a really fun and interesting site:

I found the photos to be "haunting" in a way. Probably all of us have seen these images whenever we travel to various cities and locales. I was just struck by the feeling that I got when I looked at and imagined what the businesses used to be like -- in their "hayday" so to speak . . .

You can check out the site as well:    Abandoned Businesses  and they have a huge variety of interesting displays as well.

That was a bit of our week -- we took a break from turkey and had our traditional "burger Saturday Night" last night -- tonight it is turkey again -- we love it!

Have a good week, see you in a few!  Happy Cyber Monday and 30 shopping days remain . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Twinkle Twinkle Twinkie -- Brunch

We have had a few inches of rain this week and are expecting more in the coming week. Supposedly Thanksgiving Day may be spared. In a way it's like life in the Northwest, you just deal with it and try
not to let the rain impact everyday activities.

Speaking of activities we were treated today to a brunch at the home of my brother and his wife. It was a very enjoyable occasion along with a very tasty assortment of goodies.

It was a nice chance to get-together before the main events of the coming week -- Ian and daughter Kate were down from Oregon and it was a pleasant chance to visit. Kate is quite the young lady and impressed us all with her at least four ward-robe changes within the couple of hours that we were there.

In addition we enjoyed the food without the preparations aspect allowing us to eat a small lunch later in the day so as to not interfere with dinner . . .

A Sad Sad Event

It seems that we the public for the most part were kept out of the loop until the fateful day, Friday the 16th.
I had no idea of the struggle going on behind the scenes at Hostess Brands -- makers of several food items that kids of my generation were raised with . . . the two items that I recall the most are Twinkies and of course Wonder Bread -- icons of our era . . .

Twinkies came into being in 1930 and have continued successfully through to the 16th of Nov 2012. I remember carrying a sack lunch to school and really being lifted in spirit if when I opened that bag at lunchtime -- it contained a Twinkie. I loved the light cake and the creamy insides and never ever got tired of them. I have not had a Twinkie now in years but wouldn't mind enjoying one "for old time's sake" . . .

Going through the "images" section of Google there are pages and pages of Twinkie related photos and each
one has a message. It is like "White Castles" though, if you don't have a history of enjoying them how could you relate to the passing of the brand. There's no message about White Castles, is there.

Dino's Week

Dino has not experienced a lot of rainy days in his almost 14 months. But this week has put a damper on enjoying the outside -- so how does he handle it all -- pretty much the way he handles football as evidenced by his demeanor during a recent Bears game . . .

Dino, in one of his four beds totally relaxed while the rain came down and so did the Bears -- actually along with their quarterback. Dino pretty much blocks out all noise and distractions while he naps except if you make a noise that indicates that you may be changing room locations or going outside at which point he is "right there" ready to go.

I feel bad sometimes when he is asleep peacefully and I get up to get more coffee or something and he feels obligated to get up too . . .

While we did not have a "puppy training session" this week we did take Dino out to many stores and other places of business. Next week we will also have a GDB training session at the 4-H center.

On This Date 158 Years Ago -- From Our Tree

So many stories stem from the Gillett side of our tree and today would be the 158th anniversary of the marriage of Cyrus Gillett and Sarah Norris. The wedding took place in Viroqua, Wisconsin where the local cemetery houses several of our ancestors.

Interestingly too is that one child of that marriage -- James Norris Gillett -- became the 22nd Governor of the State of California and served from 1907 to 1911.

If you click on the above you can see the "B" that indicates just where Viroqua is -- and the other interesting fact is that my nephew Jeremy and his family live there today. Jeremy would be the 4th Great Nephew of Cyrus Gillett.

The tree structure shows those relationships -- I wish that I had pictures for all the participants. Another interesting fact about Viroqua and Jeremy is that he moved there because his wife was from there and he did not know before that, that he had ancestors that had lived there before him.

Also From our Tree

My Grand Niece, Olivia, was featured in the local paper a week ago as a standout tennis player on the Healdsburg High School Team. As you can see Olivia is a Senior and is in the throes of working through selecting the college where she hopes to attend next year -- my how time flies . . .

The process of selecting the school for her higher education is a lot different than when I went through the process -- and the expenses associated with the education has changed dramatically.

Happy Holidays 2012

There is about 37 days until Christmas and only 4 days til Thanksgiving. These days go so fast and once Thanksgiving is here it seems like immediately it is Christmas . . . 

Growing up the days seemed to drag by til Christmas. But I sure do remember the great Thanksgiving Holidays that we spent at my maternal grandparents house in Chicago -- Dayton & Hildred. The aroma of the cooking bird and the occasional peek at it's progress was really special. Mamie did most of the original cooking along with help from her daughters. Grandpa B was in charge of carving the bird and then later after several games of "rotation" at the downstairs pool table -- Grandpa B carved enough turkey to make into delicious sandwiches . . . those were the days.

Even though these days we are "going out" for Thanksgiving dinner, we roast a turkey so that we can enjoy turkey and turkey sandwiches in the coming days. This year it is a little different -- because our oven has gone the way of the Twinkie, we will roast our turkey in pieces. 

I  will use my old meatcutting skills to cut the turkey into pieces including a boneless breast that will be rolled with stuffing and sausage inside. We then will roast the legs, thighs and wings for other meals including soup and sandwiches. All in all the bird will provide several meals for which we are thankful.

Last Minute Update . . .

Unbelievably while checking -- one more time -- e-Bay has some very interesting activity as does the news.
First the news -- Hostess Brands may sell the Twinkie Brand and another baker may take it over and produce Twinkies -- thank goodness . . . 

A brand like Twinkies should not just disappear as long as there are folks that want to purchase the product -- in other words, the demand is still there for Twinkies.

Check out two of the "offers" I just spotted on e-Bay:

It may seem that we have lost perspective on the value of things . . . the first ad is offering Twinkies at $1000 per Twinkie . . . the second ad, I'm not sure how much the asking price is per Twinkie since there is no quantitiy specified. But I wonder if they'd come down to maybe $9,000,000 . . .

Have a Great Thanksgiving !! See you in a few . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Chicken in the Pot/Frost in Healdsburg

We're sorry about the weather conditions in other parts of the country and can only hope that relief is bringing some comfort. The climate here is one of change as well but summer still reluctantly hangs in there. We have had temperature changes of 30 or more degrees in the matter of just a few days. We have had sun and rain and now some near freezing evenings and mornings.

The other morning after taking Dino out early -- and I nearly took a header on the back deck due to icy conditions -- I snapped a few pics. The bottom right was the eerie fog rising from the grounds by the school. In the front was frost on the yard with Dino and a crow perched across the street watching my every move.

The last few days of this week have been sunny but colder than we have been having -- so the use of some heat is making it comfortable -- I can only imagine and actually recall the times when we too lost power and had no heat and lights . . . awful times.

This Week's Big Event

Certainly around here and I'm sure in most cities and towns in the U.S. the event of the week was the election. First of all and most of all we are really glad that it is over. I can only imagine what the candidates feel. We took Dino and the three of us strolled around the block to our polling place. We had to stand in line for about five minutes before a "booth" came open. I can't imagine what it would be like to stand in line for several hours as we heard many folks did.

Eighty-four years ago in another election the campaign slogan for one political party was " a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage". Well in honor of that we took advantage of the cold weather and our new "Ninja" pot and did exercise our choice of a chicken in our new pot.  It actually turned our really well. The pot we got (about a week ago) and have used it 5 or 6 times already and it has really performed well.

Our kitchen -- which is soon to be updated -- has an oven that is not really functional any more and a stove that never stops "clicking" when being used. So the Ninja has allowed us to enjoy roasted, baked and even fried things (quietly) -- we like it a lot.

Now back to the election -- Florida finally completed counting almost all of it's ballots -- I am sure glad that the results there did not matter as the Presidential results were already assured. We all remember the 2000 year election and the delays and controversy at that time.

Some Local Color

I couldn't resist going around the back yard a bit this morning and include some photos of the -- maybe last remaining "color" for the season. Dino knows that when I grab my camera that sometimes he gets to go with and this time he did. 

So, I included a head shot of Dino as I took the photos. The colors are amazing and vibrant. Each week though the plants are trimmed back for the season -- and this week they did survive the frost.

Armistice Day

That is what we grew up calling this day. It was a day of remembrance for the cessation of hostilities during WWI and that occurred on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour maybe even the 11th minute . . . in 1918.

WWI had 20 million deaths associated with it and there are folks who are still observing that. Sometime after  WWII this day started to be called Veterans Day and it continues to be so . . . 

This morning while preparing to write this post I received an email from Gary -- who is in one of our family branches in this tree (married to Gail's sister) and I appreciated the sentiment and include it here:

I added the top part as a "salute" to our many branches of the military -- I hope I found them all . . .

Gary and his wife Laurii live in the shadow of those "Sawtooth" Mountains pictured above in Idaho. Gary is a veteran, his daughter was a Navy Pilot and later in the Marines and they currently have their son-in-law serving in Afghanistan (a Marine Pilot).

We thank the Gadwas and all other veterans for serving the country.

Dino's Week -- Guide Dogs for the Blind

Just two weeks ago we had GDB training associated with the sights and sounds of Halloween. Time moves fast -- we had a training session in one of the malls not-too-far from us -- in Santa Rosa, at the Coddingtown Mall which is being upgraded (it needed it).

We spent our training going through stores, walking up and down stairways (escalators are not allowed) and basically exposing the pups to the activities and sounds in the mall. Now there are Christmas sounds permeating the stores and mostly Christmas displays everywhere. It used to be the unwritten rule that Christmas merchandising was to start after Thanksgiving -- not any more.

By the way Thanksgiving is 11 days away and Christmas is 45 days away . . .

Speaking of the Holidays . . .

While continuing to go through old photos, I thought that I would include one of my family from 56 years ago (1956) and this one was taken on Christmas Day that year. 

It shows better in black & white though I do have a color copy. The color processing in those days was so vibrant that it distorted some of the appearances. 

This was taken at our house in Hinsdale, Illinois and includes (from the left) my father holding my cousin Scott Bumgardner, Bill and my sister Marilee, my Mother with my younger brother Jon seated, my maternal Grandfather, Dayton, me, Aunt Mary Bumgardner with cousin Bruce Bumgardner and Mamie Bumgardner, my maternal Grandmother -- I assume that the picture was taken by my Uncle Stewart Bumgardner.

We rarely have that many relatives available at any one moment for pictures . . .

And Lastly . . .

One site that I receive "notices" from is and I thought today's notice was interesting.
During the recent World Series we sure noticed the different renditions of "God Bless America" and I was not aware of how it all came about . . .

So 74 years ago today was the first time that it was sung publicly -- and it was sung by one of my Mother's favorite singers -- Kate Smith. I remember watching the "Kate Smith Show" with my Mother during that time period . . .

So that was part of our week. We did have burgers and sweet potato fries last night. Tonight we are going to have "pork chops Provencal" and prepared  using the Ninja . . .

See you in a few!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's About Time . . . Healdsburg & Beyond

This week seems to have had more than it's share of activities and events. Last Sunday as I had posted in the blog, we did not know but were fairly certain that the San Francisco Giants would win the World Series -- and of course they did with a four game sweep over the Detroit Tigers. Then there were the preparations all around for Halloween which for many is a major holiday.

The above shows some of the annual display at a house locally in Healdsburg. There are many other examples as well and they really show the extent that some go to entertain us.

Unfortunately another event came just after the World Series and that was "Sandy" the near hurricane storm that has leveled and destroyed a huge part of coastal New Jersey and parts of New York.  TV has given us close up views of this and makes us think of our own vulnerability . . . and the need for preparedness.

So the weeks is filled with mixed reactions to the events taking place and then there is the campaigning activities going on as well.

The Time -- Thanks Ben!

By now we all know that the return to Standard Time took place 12 hours or so ago. Apparently the change to Daylight Savings Time can be credited to Benjamin Franklin who of course is credited with so much already. He had made the suggestion to Parisians -- when he served there -- that they could save a "bundle" on candles by moving the time forward and back by an hour at appropriate times of the year. That was initiated and in America as well.

The dilemma for us in our house hold though can be seen by the numerous timepieces that have to be changed to reflect the correct time:

These are just some of the devices that we have to change and little by little that will happen. Then there are the automobile clocks as well -- which seem to always give us a bit of a challenge.

But overall, getting up this morning, the time (and the temperature) seemed to be right -- all fit with the mood so-to-speak. Even Dino was content with the change and did not mind the different feeding hour.

More Time 

This week as mentioned we celebrated Halloween -- and we will have a very short few days before it is Thanksgiving and then GUESS WHAT -- it is THE holiday season for real. It seems like it takes forever and then it is here (and gone) quickly:

Can you believe it that there are only 51 (or 50 when you see this) shopping days until Christmas. We are already seeing an increase in UPS and FEDEX delivery trucks in the neighborhood and it just may be that some of the overhead jets are those of the two main carriers of packages. I believe that I read that some of the first jets to take off from the Sandy-stricken airports were UPS/FEDEX planes -- and rightly so as this economy needs all the stimulation that it can get -- we are doing our part . . .

This morning as Dino and I went to get the newspaper it was noticeably heavier than usual. Not for the amount of news but for the amount of the "ads" being printed. It is still fun for us to peruse these ads even though our purchasing habits have changed somewhat in the last few years.

The Times for our Ancestors/Relatives

Speaking of ads -- as I search through the "old" newspapers I love to also glance at the ads that appear there and reflect on the spirit of those times as well. We all have been influenced by advertising -- some of us a lot more than others . . .

Looking at some of the above ads it would be very hard to imagine seeing those ads appear today. Growing up in the Chicago/Milwaukee general area Blatz for example was a big factor in the beer market. But the ad above clearly indicates another market than the one I was aware of . . .

The ads above certainly reflect how maybe the health and welfare of infants were ultimately impacted. Then too the health and welfare of everyone was negatively impacted through a lot of the above type advertising. It will take years to correct but it looks like we are heading more in the right direction as it pertains to more healthy choices -- too bad it is too late for some. The times sure have changed, hopefully for the good.

Random Pics from two Branches of our Tree

Going through the huge amount of pictures that I have accumulated of folks in our tree, two pictures came to  the forefront as I paged through:

The two photos just struck me that they are representative of "other " times. The one on the left comes from Gail's family and they are of her Grand Uncle Blaine Bouldron and his younger brother Walt Bouldron (Gail's Grandfather). I found the clothing articles interesting.

The photo on the right comes from my family and is of my Uncle Stewart and my brother, Marv. I found the clothing also interesting. I enjoy looking at photos of this type and am happy to share them. It is sad to think that due to Sandy we heard that so many families lost all of their photos like the above -- so in a way by publishing them these two have some sense of protection . . .

It is (finally) the Time, Next Week

I know many of you have already voted, but Gail and I still enjoy going to the local voting place and marking our ballots -- this year we will take Dino along with us to his first presidential election voting experience.

Sometimes I think that elections long ago may have been less controversial or less dramatic and then I look up the facts . . .

In 1912 there was a huge amount of controversy and "politics" being played. We recognize most of the players but probably do not know all the circumstances. Basically, Taft was running for reelection and his predecessor Teddy Roosevelt had become disenchanted with Taft's first term and decided to run as well (on a third party ticket). The third party entry split the Republicans and the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson won the election . . .

Hopefully by this time next week we will know the result of the election this year . . . I say hopefully because some have said that we could end up with a tie -- which means that Congress would decide . . . memories of  "hanging chad" . . .

Burger Time Last Night . . .

Lately for the past several months anyway, Gail and I have had burgers every Saturday Night. Previously we had "Sliders" every Saturday Night for a few years -- I suspect eventually we will switch back again at some point.

But the day yesterday was probably one of the most pleasant days weather-wise that we have had all year.
We had invited my brother and his wife to join us for burgers -- which they did.

Before having the burgers we enjoyed some time "under the arbor" in the backyard. When we started it was light and summery, eventually the grape lights lit and we moved to the warmth of the inside. We even managed to watch some of the USC/Oregon game (recorded)  before and after dinner.

We enjoyed the evening and were glad to have had guests to share in our tradition . . .


The internet again has come through with putting me in touch with someone that I have not been able to contact for over 50 years. While he is not a relative, he was a best friend throughout school days and I look forward to sharing memories of these past several years -- so thanks to Steve B. and the anticipated reacquaintancing . . .

Just for the record, tonight we are going to try out the steam infusion method of roasting a chicken with the Ninja . . .

See you all in a few!