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Saturday, January 25, 2014

We Can See Clearly Now . . . No Rain in Sight

We have had bright sunshine every day this week -- only once did it seem that maybe just maybe there was a hint of rain. While it is really nice -- now -- there is a price to pay of course, starting with major water-use restrictions in our town.
On MLK day this week,  the unmistakable sounds of baseball wafted throughout our backyard. When I checked it out I was amazed at the activity going on:

There was obviously a "little-league" baseball type clinic or some such thing going on. Hundreds of kids acting out their baseball moves and drills. Parents and other onlookers were stretched out on the grass.  We had to shake ourselves to remind us that it was only January.

We realize that the same scene was not able to take place in the frigid Midwest and/or East. It is nice to know that the athletic grounds behind our house get a thorough workout. And we know only too soon that the sounds of actual games will be wafting over our fence (and maybe the occasional ball).

Basically, this was and is our weather pattern here in Healdsburg . . .

Webinar Week

I was lucky this week in that I not only had Webinar Wednesday, I had webinars Wednesday morning and evening -- but that was not all -- I had two webinars today Saturday as well.

The webinars started with one from Legacy Family Tree about Irish research and even though I don't have a lot of Irish searching to do -- the process used for Irish research is easily transferable to other search types.

I learned a lot about just the process of genealogical searching in general as well as Irish specific searching.

Later in the day I attended the second webinar of the day from Heritage Collector -- a program that I have and am anxious to be more proficient with . . . each time I attend a webinar from HC I do get better at using the program -- I have signed up for additional webinars from them.

And then today, Saturday, I attending two more webinars from "Boot Camp". These are special webinars put on by Thomas MacEntee and Lisa Alzo -- I attended an earlier Boot Camp late last year.

While there is a modest charge to the Boot Camp webinars -- they are well worth the cost. The two today were with the theme of "Getting Your Genealogy Groove Back". Getting back in the groove is certainly something that needs to happen from time to time. I learned a lot today.

Sochi 2014

In less than two weeks the Winter Olympic Games begin -- if all goes well. There is a lot of controversy about the games, and we hope that we'll be able to enjoy watching them as well as seeing attendees from around the world enjoying the games as well.

The games are scheduled to be held from February 6 -- 23 in an unsettled part of the world. Above you cans see the proposed events and dates along with the "medal" events.

What Some Participants will be Wearing

I did not realize the degree to which fashion was almost at the forefront as much as the athleticism, but the following pretty much says it all:

There is no doubt that these Olympics will be colorful as depicted above. The bottom left picture shows the basic uniforms for the official staff. The top right and middle show some German outfits, but the all time favorite would be the top left, left middle and the bottom right -- these are the outfits ( I am almost ready to not claim being part Norwegian) for the curling team from Norway.

If you'd like to read more about the decision process for the Norwegians read the following newspaper article that appeared in the Press Democrat and originally The New York Times:

Dates From Our Tree for Next Week

More birth dates than anniversaries . . .

83 years ago this month:

I've mentioned this sad story before, but it never ceases to amaze me. Growing up I had never even heard of Malcolm Hiles and it was only after starting doing genealogy that I found out that he was a first cousin and that we shared a Great Great Grandfather (Daniel Hiles):

Malcolm was one of three sons born to LeRoy D Hiles (brother of my Gr Grandfather, John), and if it weren't for finding the following newspaper article I wouldn't have been aware of how his life ended. I often
wonder if my father had known about this story & why was it not at some point shared with us . . .

The picture above is of Malcolm and his wife Emma shortly before the event -- the picture did not appear in the paper, just the verbiage. Sadly I never met any of Malcolm's children either though his youngest daughter Helen Marie Hiles, lived until 1996.


It has been another NFL withdrawal week with no MNF nor TNF this week. We will be ending the withdrawal with maybe some peeks at the Pro Bowl:

And so tomorrow we will probably glance a bit at the game and maybe find some interest but we don't anticipate that . . . we will definitely be ready for the Superbowl one week from tomorrow. We are hoping that some of the current snow will still be on the ground in a week . . .

That is a bit of our week. Burgers tonight. See you all in a few . . .

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Some Kind of Week . . .

Every week is "some" kind, but this one had it's interesting days. Some having to do with the weather, some having to do with activities around the house -- namely adding an extender to the current router. Also the atmosphere is a bit charged with the events leading up to the big rival game between the Niners and the Seahawks:

This is the current banner on our front porch, so it is not hard to figure out who we are rooting for, though if the Seahawks were playing anyone else we would be rooting for them. Having lived in the Seattle area for ten years (and at one point having Seahawks season tickets) it would be exciting to see the "Hawks" in the Superbowl.

The major obstacle around the house this week was trying to get the router extension working properly. I have to say that I have NEVER been able to work with a router and have it go well. Our situation was that when using our mobile devices (iPads, iPods, MotoX cells) in the family room we never got full responses from the WiFi and the desk top router in our office at the other end of the house.

The instructions, sales info and many of the rating messages online stated that this router extender was a top performer AND very easy to set up and to begin using. I did not find it that way and as one letter I later read stated: "what a work of Satan" it can be . . .

After a few days of trying many different scenarios and almost thinking of returning the product, I reluctantly called tech support which of course is routed to some of the most polite people in the world only to find it difficult to get over the language barrier. I am glad that I actually called because within an hour, though after struggling with interpreting technical acronyms and accents the router extender was up and running.

And it has made all the difference in performance . . . please may we never have to deal with the router issue ever again just as I say with respect to having an "MRI" ever again.

That Time of the Year

Well, it is "that time" for a lot of reasons, while all the router business was going on during the day in the cold of the evening the first lunar experience of the year was taking place:

From our front porch (and kitchen window) we have a clear view of the moon as it appears over the top of the neighbor's house across the street. And as a bonus in this picture I believe Jupiter is in view as well -- just to the left of the pine tree -- amazing.

So in the evening we see the moon from our kitchen, and when I get up to take Dino out in the morning the moon is appearing low in the horizon out in the back yard.

On the news we heard that this moon is the smallest of the full moons this year. It may be the smallest, but it sure was easily viewed.

Dates From the Tree

Again the upcoming week's birth dates and anniversaries are following the "January" trend -- that is -- not so many marriage anniversaries as other times during the year:

Two of the events coming up are close in relationship to me: on January 21,  225 years ago John Hiles (Jr) was born -- we think in Pennsylvania. And then some 66 years ago my dad's half-sister, Jane was married.

A Life-Changing Event

An event that changed the lives of Gail's family took place 64 years ago yesterday. It was a snowy day in the environs of Seattle (Everett to be more exact), and Gail's dad was behind the wheel of an oil tanker. Unfortunately, two trucks collided that day with Jim suffering major injuries including the loss of his right leg.

Fortunately though both drivers recovered. Meeting Gail's dad for the first time I had no idea he only had one leg, and he never let that fact "slow" him down.

Probably because Jim Bouldron was an athletic man, he kept being athletic by taking up the game of golf and played as much as he could -- sometimes every day. He played in "Handicapped" Tournaments around the country and could still "shoot his age" in his late 70s.

It is amazing how certain events flavor our lives and help define "who we are".

Webinar Wednesday

Again this week I was lucky to attend the Legacy webinar. This one had a theme that I have been struggling with -- and probably a lot of genealogists -- of "too many (same) names" e.g. John in our case.

The bar graph above was produced by Legacy Family Tree and points out the occurrences of some of the most popular names and most likely is the same for our tree.  It has been problematic to deal with families in our tree that have the same given names over and over.

When researching a common name it is important to use many of the solutions as presented in this webinar. It still is a major chore to differentiate families who are all living in the same geographic area and have the same names -- I am hoping that I can go back and clarify some of these families.

Puzzle Projects

It is nice to have a "puzzle" be the main object of dealing with as opposed to the many work-place scenarios of our past lives. Most of the puzzle involvement is left up to Gail, but I always enjoyed working on jigsaw puzzles as well.

The puzzles of today have changed somewhat in that most of the ones that Gail works on are laser cut wooden puzzles with amazing intricate cut shapes.

The top four pics show the challenging puzzle from last week that happened to be two-sided in that there were in effect two complete puzzles -- actually of the same picture. The challenging aspect was that each piece could possibly go one way or the other . . .

After successfully finishing the two sided, Gail has now started on the Liberty puzzle pictured above of "Winter in the Country" -- not our part of the country . . .

What makes this puzzle a challenge is that included in the puzzle is a frame that is not bound by "straight" or normal "edge" type pieces . . . early on she is thinking about "giving up", but from past experience, that is not going to happen. I'm part of the puzzle as you can see the new fridge picture mustache . . .

Photography -- 175 Years

While doing family history searches, I really love it when I find pictures to go along with names and places. I love adding this element to the work.

According to an article at     fold3    the history of photography is given. It was 175 years ago this month that some of the very first photos were displayed for the world to enjoy. Here is that article:

 I feel so lucky when I find a picture of someone who was born in the early 1800s. There are many of our ancestors that I do not have photos for -- I feel that they are out there -- I just have not found them as yet.

A Year Ago this Week

I happen to remember it well -- from the bed I was occupying in the ICU in Santa Rosa. It still seems almost unreal that I actually spent 21 days in that and a couple of other beds, all alarmed to keep me from wandering off . . .

Ahh, Guillain-Barre, while not necessarily contagious, at one point "what I had" had not been determined as yet -- so I can relate to this "Herman" depiction.

Even a year later as I feel completely healed -- there are some remnants of the syndrome, mostly in my mobility. While I am free of canes, walkers and the like I do try to always have a wall or a rail to grab onto as needed within reach . . . needless to say, I don't walk long distances.

And Lastly this Weekend

It is always nice to have something to look forward to -- and this weekend it is Sunday's NFL games. Both of which should be very exciting.

The early game on Sunday will be the Broncos versus the Patriots which has to be a classic. We like both teams though maybe one a little more than the other . . .

The afternoon game also will be between two teams that we like though a little more right now for one over the other . . .

Since I was "out of it" last year for the Championship games it will be nice to see them this year. I arrived home last year on Superbowl Sunday just in time to see the Harbaugh brothers battle it out . . . maybe at least one Harbaugh brother will be involved this year -- we'll see.

And so that was a bit of our week. Burgers tonight, see you all in a few!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

♫ Saturday, Rainy Day ♫ Thought it was . . . ♫

After many days of sunshine we finally got a day that started with some rain. It is not though enough other than to make it overcast and gloomy. The forecast is just a little rain and then by Tuesday it is supposed to be back in the 70s and sunny again. I know some parts of the country would love that . . .

The gloominess seems appropriate for the current moment for whatever reason and being all snug inside is perfect for the day as we plan to watch and enjoy some football later today. And some of our favorite teams will be playing.

In the meantime, Gail is enjoying very much her first week of her "second" retirement. Just knowing that she does not have to "be anywhere" is relaxing and soothing. And thinking about the poor devils that have to deal with the new tax season, well that is as it should be . . .

Dino Gets a New Bed . . .

Each of us is enjoying the shelter of the inside in this brief period of inclement weather -- Dino goes from one room to the other and takes a nap on the bed in that particular room. But when we returned the other day with a new bed -- he took to it immediately and even snores a little when on it . . .

He still though seeks out his old bed which we have put out on the deck for him to enjoy during those times when he prefers to lay down out there -- growing up I don't think any of the dogs that we had ever had a "real" dog bed -- mostly old blankets and things like that.

Gail's Projects

So to keep busy (this first week of retirement) besides the normal cleaning and laundry, and the complete rearrangement of the pantry Gail worked on finishing her holiday gift puzzle(s). And with success too. The puzzle showing where our house is located on the map was finally completed after many expressions that there must be pieces missing.

And the new challenging puzzle was started -- the brightly colored wooden pieces of a "double sided" puzzle. It is a small puzzle, but one that is really different in that either side of each piece looks like it "could" fit at times.

And the third "puzzle" is for her to put magnetic mustaches on a picture of yours truly (on our fridge). Oh well, what next . . .

Actually after the little wooden puzzle above there is a third wooden puzzle that is around 800+ pieces that will take some time and offer many hours of "fun".

My Project This Week

Besides the genealogy searching that happens every day, I have started a new hobby that will take some time and hopefully offer enjoyment as well.

A gift I received a few weeks ago now has occupied some of my attention, and that is the new "Fluval" fish aquarium that I found "under the tree". It has taken some time to get everything ready and right to add the living ingredients -- fish.

We went to the "fish-store" and looked at the many types of tropical fish and finally settled on three fishes of one species -- "Dalmatian Mollies" to start our community tank:

And so there you have a look at these -- just like you'd suspect -- black and white Dalmatian like fish. It has been fascinating to watch their activity -- especially at feeding time.

We have what we believe to be two females and one male which means that there could be additional family in the future. At least we have had them for three days now, and they are still swimming around . . .

Webinar Wednesday(s)

Besides the projects,  and everyday activities the second webinar of the year was on Wednesday. It was about the benefits of being involved in what they call "One Name Studies". The One Name Studies is different from family search in that it has to do with a particular surname and all references attached to that surname -- whether they are a family or not . . .

Above you can see the particulars of the webinar and the next five webinars scheduled. I have signed up for all of them and look forward to learning something from each one.

Birthdays & Anniversaries from our Tree (Next Week)

January does not seem like a popular marriage month so far for folks in our tree, though I know of many:

Of the four anniversaries coming up -- one is close to me -- and that is of my parents. Next week it will have been 83 years since my folks got married. The interesting thing is that I know very little about that event in terms of the details such as -- where it took place and who attended and things like that:

Above you can see the announcement that my mother's folks sent out referencing the marriage -- but it only gives Chicago as the place. On the left is a picture I believe was taken about a year (or 1932) after they were married, and the picture on the right was taken at their 50th anniversary.

I hope to find more details, and I continue to search for them. If anyone has some details, please send.

And Now for Some Football

It has been a little bit of withdrawal pain this week as there has been NO Monday night football NOR any Thursday night football -- we both enjoy watching the games.

So it is with a lot of anticipation that we look forward to the games this weekend. We especially are going to root for Seattle to win today and of course the Niners to win tomorrow.

The other two games we will watch, and I'm sure enjoy. The season has sped by this year and the Superbowl is only a couple of weeks away -- it seems just like yesterday that we watched last year's game.

Anyway -- that is a bit of our week. It is Saturday, and it will be burgers tonight! See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"NoStorm" Here, Some Snow Elsewhere . . .

What a week! Over with the year and 2014 is here. The weather here is beautiful -- cold at night but up in the 70s during the day. There is definitely a positive feeling about calendar changes. Some people (without mentioning names) have been fortunate to have had careers that over the years had defined starting and ending times within the year, so a feeling of completion came often.

This is the current banner we are flying from the front deck and will be up for a few more days after which it may be replaced by another suitable seasonal or gaming banner.

Inside Blooming

While it is pleasant outside during the sunlight hours, the overnight temperatures caught us napping so-to-speak, and we have lost some of our plants due to the 20° temperatures. On the inside though we have maintained a constant temp, mostly:

The orchid on the top left (a drawing of Dino below it) was a gift this year and is spectacular. The carnations on the right are from an arrangement that we received a couple of weeks ago and are now standing in the "white-elephant" frog that we snagged at the Christmas Eve celebration.
The Orchid on the bottom however is one that we have had for some time. Most of the year it looks totally bare and just this last week it bloomed in the state seen above. It amazes us each year when it shows off again. We suspect that the new orchid will behave in the same manner -- but in the meantime we enjoy.

Birthdates & Anniversary for Next Week

The births keep showing up in the first weeks of January, but there is a noticeable decline in the number of wedding anniversaries and in the case of next week -- only one (there probably is more that we did not spot):

So "Best Wishes & Congrats" go to Amy and Mark on their anniversary next week!

New Year's Projects

One thing the new year brings for us in the chance to "start something new" for a new outlook. There will be several other projects along the way but so far we are currently working on the following:

On the left is the current puzzle that Gail is working on -- in between needle pointing and sudoku, i.e. The puzzle has been challenging and several times I heard "I'm sure that there are pieces missing". This said so far with respect to the "edge" pieces -- but now finally has been resolved. All edge pieces are accounted for, and finally the dimensions are in tact.

The puzzle is a topographical map showing our present house location and the surrounding region -- some four to six miles worth. It promises to keep Gail busy for several more weeks . . . though I have managed to find maybe one to two of the in-place pieces so far.

On the far right is my new puzzle -- a fresh-water fish aquarium. I have actually gotten some "stuff" into the tank and am awaiting one more piece of equipment (a water heater) before filling the tank to the top and running the filter and making sure that the water is "just right" to add fish . . .

It is all a slow & steady process, but we do see progress probably more-so with the puzzle and we have two more new puzzles after the above one is finished . . .

The project in the middle above is the new Schwinn AD2 exercise cycle. We just received that on Thursday of this week, and already we can ride it for maybe 3 to 4 minutes before tiring . . . we do not want to over do it in the beginning.

We have to thank my brother and his wife who have an identical one that they let us ride before ordering one of our own. We put ours in the living room where it is easily ridden and is out of the way since we hardly use that room for much anyway. And we took their advice and ordered a gel seat . . . whew, nice!

It is Webinar Friday

Legacy family tree started out their year of webinars yesterday. This webinar, hosted and presented by Geoff Rasmussen went into the details of their Legacy 8 software just released. I have that program and it is really quite sophisticated. I use it, and Family Tree Make as well as RootsMagic . . .

And Legacy has listed all 52 of their upcoming webinars (they usually add more as well) for 2014 AND a nice feature is that you can sign up easily for several or all at one time.

The webinars are a great way to keep genealogy focused during the week, and I have always learned from each one. They are free (something that other sites charge for) and are addictive.

Rounding Out the Week-End

While most of the NFL games that we have watched this year have been "fun", we are really looking forward to the games later today and tomorrow. We have them all scheduled to be recorded and then we time delay our viewing by about an hour so we can bypass many of the areas that we want to skip . . . (repeated commercials, mostly)

The above shows the schedules for the upcoming series of games. We are less than one month until the Super Bowl on 2 February 2014 in New Jersey.

We will enjoy the games today but really look forward to the one tomorrow late with the San Francisco Forty Niners visiting the Green Bay Packers. We'll be sure to have a warm bag of 'dem cheese curds ready for snacking during that one . . .

The Big News for our Family

The other reason that this week was so eventful is because after 32 years of working in the seasonal occupation of tax preparation -- Gail has decided to RETIRE form that job -- as of NOW.

It is interesting too that Gail retired from her teaching career also after 32 years . . . hmm . . . 32 years plus 32 years, oh well some of those years overlapped of course.

She has many fond memories of working and being associated with Block and will always "feel drawn" to thinking about the January to April time frame. But all of that can be substituted with genealogical pursuits possibly -- including conferences, cruises and just plain everyday genealogy . . . NOT -- she has other pursuits in mind.

So that was a peek into our week. It is burgers tonight. See you all in a few!

Happy New Year!