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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Arrives with Distinction -- Thunder And All

Usually September days are warm, sunny and beautifully refreshing -- and some of the days so far this Fall have been . . . but yesterday -- rain, lightning and thunder claps. Thunder and lightning here in our part of Northern California seems to be rare, but we had something like a Midwestern thunderstorm on Friday.

Dates for Next Week

Things are definitely "slowing" down in terms of both birthdays and anniversaries. The bit last post about birthdays and the ranking of the most "popular" dates came from a study that the NY Times had conducted over many years and was able to show that September not only had the most popular date -- September 16 -- but also many other days in the top ten -- e.g. # 2 is September 9 and #3 is September 23 . . .

There are only four couples with wedding anniversaries next week but still a bit above twenty folks with birthdays.

I'll talk a little more about birthdays later in the post -- but I did enjoy mine this last week. Of course it was a full day of receiving emails, phone calls and visits -- which were all fun and appreciated.

Just for the record too -- Dino had a birthday last week as well -- he turned three years old on the 24th.

The 24th happens to be #6 on the most popular dates -- but I don't think the same reasoning applies in Dino's case because as we mentioned last post the reason for September being so popular was because of the period nine months prior (holiday season and all). At any rate Dino had a very nice quiet day of celebration as well.

Still Searching for Butchers, Bakers & Candlestick Makers . . .

While rooting around the 1940 Census I happened upon my 3rd Cousin (once removed) and found that in that year he was a "butcher" or meatcutter as he was labeled.

In 1940 the meat business was quite a bit different than it is today. Most shops were the old style "service" counter where the meat is displayed behind glass and you deal one on one with the "butcher" to select the types and cuts that you want.

There are a few of these type shops still around today -- we have one in town -- they are giving the image of old time "quality" and service and a lot of folks seek that out. For me, I prefer the newer style of self-service where I can pick & choose from a variety of cuts and make my decision without the added pressure of the butcher waiting for my answer.

What is a bit amusing though to me is to slowly walk in front of the meat case of this "old-fashioned" service counter and find that I am being tailed by a butcher or two waiting to respond to any requests that I might have . . . sometimes I just like to check out the display without really being ready to make a purchase . . .

One thing I have to say is that since I was a "butcher" for six years I know how nice it was -- in someways -- to have a floor heavily covered in sawdust. Today, sawdust here in the U.S. is not allowed. And when I started meatcutting in the Midwest (Illinois) we were not allowed to sell meat on Sunday -- so Saturday night after cleaning up, new fresh sawdust would be spread over the floors and raked to perfection . . . I would miss that if I were working in a market today.

And What About Those Iowa Weddings . . .

So, again I found myself looking into to flesh out the details of some of my ancestors lives. I of course find it fascinating and one of the cousins that I found this week is Helen Marie Hiles, a second cousin (once removed) and if you click on the left graph you can see how she is related.

Helen lived in La Crosse, Wisconsin when on October 12, 1935 she married Delos Martin Johnson and they got "hitched" in Iowa . . . Decorah, Iowa.

You can see by the map to the right that the two
locations are only a little over an hour's drive away -- but I still don't know the attraction of an Iowa marriage versus a Wisconsin ceremony.

The downtown photo sure looks like many small towns that I have been to -- but I can not recall ever being in Decorah, Iowa.

And now a bit more about birthdays

Actually mine, earlier this week. While chatting with my sister I mentioned to her about the gift that Gail gave me -- which if a man were to give this to his wife it might be considered, not too appropriate . . . but in my case I loved it -- it was a new vacuum -- and since I do most of the vacuuming it was very much appreciated.

Let me share some history of my vacuuming experience:  growing up at one point in the 1950s, we had a memorable vacuum in our household and it was often my assignment "to do" the vacuuming.

As my sister and I both remember -- this was a machine to be reckoned with. It used water in the bottom tank that took all the dust particles and turned them into a sludge that then had to be dealt with -- I think we dumped it into the toilet as I recall.

But, Marilee reminded me of a story about the vacuum that I did not remember and I find amusing. This vacuum was very powerful and  had very strong suction -- so strong that once when my mother was using it around the holiday time near the Christmas tree -- the machine grabbed one of the branches and sucked in and knocked off ornaments and stuff . . . I can only imagine the panic that ensued.

But we used that vacuum for many years and it probably would still be operational today as it was built like a truck -- ugly -- and awful to dump -- but effective if used carefully.

NOW -- enter the Roomba -- the robot vacuum that I received this week. The only thing it has in common with the Rexair is that they both start with the letterr "R" . . .

I have been fascinated with the idea of a "Roomba" for sometime.

After charging the unit for a few hours we decided to "check it out".  It charges up and then we pushed the button to put it into service. The iRobot Roomba left it's charging station and proceeded to move out into the floor area.

At first it startled Dino -- but he quickly reacted the way we did -- we were fascinated with watching it. It made a fairly quiet vacuum noise and began moving around the family room -- it disappeared beneath our sofa several times vacuuming an area that we would have had to move the sofa to do.

A long story short -- the Roomba wandered about the whole house for two hours -- it went into every room including the bathrooms. We actually had my brother over while all this was going on and we did not always check on it's progress but could hear it moving about.

Another positive was that it spent a lot of time under our bed -- another area that is not always easy to vacuum. After about two hours the Roomba made it's way back to it's charging station and docked itself to recharge -- very impressive.

When I cleaned and emptied the receptacle the next morning I found a ton of dog hair and associated dust things that Roomba had picked up. So far we love it . . . wouldn't our folks just be amazed.

Also on September 23rd . . .

Another great birthday gift was the premiere show of the second season of this excellent show. We actually have not seen it as yet but it is recorded and we can watch it whenever we want to -- which will be soon.

We had so many things going on this week the DVR feature again has proven how valuable it is to have.

But "finding your roots" is a really good genealogical show -- Henry Gates does a fantastic job with every episode that we have seen.

Having this recording ready to watch is like having an "ace in the whole" when we are looking for a show to watch. We record almost everything for that reason.

So, that was a bit of our week -- it is Saturday and that means "maybe" burgers . . .

See you all in a few!

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