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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fence Puzzle

It poured rain most of the week. There was some sporadic sunshine early in the week and then today as well -- but the other days were downpours. It has always been our experience that for contractors and rain the two do not mix well.

But the fence shown above was installed almost completely in the rain. On Tuesday at around 7:30 A.M. a large crew of men came and began dismantling the old fence and carting off the rotting wood.

Shortly after that new holes were dug and all new lumber brought in to begin the new fence. To us it was amazing to watch 8-12 men in full rain gear go about their task with expertise and purpose. Before the day was over the the main fence was in and the yard completely enclosed.

Redwood Residential Fencing did the work and beautiful work it was. The fragrance of "new" wood filled the air and the quality job spoke for itself. For us and the four other neighbors, we are pleased with the results.

Dates from the Tree

The holidays are upon us and many birthdays and anniversaries fall on Thanksgiving this year:

Best wishes to all!

Where the Search Took Me this Week

I was all over the tree this week looking for connections and tidbits. But mostly I found myself working on Gail's side of the tree and was able to uncover some interesting people and facts.

One of the families that I found was that of the Bob Shaffer family.

Growing up Gail mentioned that their family was close to the Bob & Aggie Shaffer family and in fact even stayed with them part of the time when Gail's father was hospitalized.

Gail has fond memories of their daughter Arlene who is pictured along with her father to the right.

Arlene and Gail are 2nd cousins and the connection can be seen in the chart as well.

There is a huge amount of material to be uncovered on the many Shaffers that populate her tree, not to forget a huge amount of Calhouns that find themselves there as well.

Speaking of the Calhouns, Gail's Gr Gr Grandfather, Rufus Calhoun had many siblings.

One that I just found a picture of this week is that of Thomas Watts Calhoun seen to the right along with his wife, Mary.

Thomas & Mary are the Gr Gr Gr Uncle and Aunt of Gail.

So far, most of the Calhoun men from Rufus' and Thomas' generation have full beards.

Rufus was a Sea Captain and we have visited his home in Port Townsend, Washington.

It appears that Thomas was a farmer according to the 1880 Federal Census that I saw. He lived to be 92 and appeared with his 87 year old wife in the 1930 Federal Census living in Seattle.

It will be interesting to uncover more about the family of Rufus and his siblings -- there were at least eight of them -- a sea captain, a Doctor and a farmer so far.

Retirement Activity

One of the things that is very important when one is retired is to find meaningful and fun activities in which to engage. I could spend most of my time doing genealogy and be perfectly happy even eating some of my meals in front of the computer doing research.

Gail on the other hand does not share the same passion about family history, but she does engage in several activities that keep her engaged during the day, She does great needlepoint work and we have those exhibited throughout the house.

One very challenging activity can be seen on the left. This is a current project that is very daunting when first viewed.

Several years ago we started purchasing Liberty Puzzles and have loved them ever since.

The Garden scene is beautiful and the almost 700 precision laser-cut wooden pieces are fun to work with.

The real challenge to this puzzle is that the frame is part of the puzzle and does not necessarily have straight pieces as in normal borders. So every little bit I hear an exclamation that "I found another piece!"

This puzzle will take quite a while to complete but Gail can leave it set up and work on it when she feels inclined to . . .

Online Shopping

It is the holiday period, the time to be serious about doing our shopping. We will spend very little time in the "brick & mortar" stores opting to do our shopping at several favorite online sites and then watching UPS and Fedex trucks rushing throughout the neighborhood.

We use Amazon it seems almost daily for so many of the things we used to run to department or discount stores to buy. Amazon in our area seems to be using the postal service more than they ever used to -- which has worked out to our benefit in one way -- the mailman can not fit packages into our street-side mailbox, so he brings everything "to the door" and we like that.

But, coming up this next week, besides all the family birthdays and anniversaries is one of our favorite holidays -- Thanksgiving.  Where will you be spending Thanksgiving and what will you be eating for that dinner.

We will be having maybe the second turkey of the year along with all the fixins that go with it and watching football -- maybe visiting with friends and family -- so all in all a pleasant time.

We hope all of you enjoy this great holiday as well!

But, tonight it is Saturday Night and that means burgers pork chops (for a change),

See you all in a few!  (After Black Friday)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beatin' The Polar Vortex Impact !

We (in California) are one of a few states that are escaping the icy cold from the polar vortex. On the other hand the house across the street is just covered with icicles hanging along the roof line -- put up yesterday . . .

It was a busy week for Gail who had two visitors for lunch this week and had two wonderful visits and is feeling warm & fuzzy after the reminiscing and catching up with current events.

The above collage captures some of the moments without being too intrusive, but wanting to document the events. And I get to enjoy some of the leftovers . . .

Dates For Next Week

Quite a few birthdays and several wedding anniversaries for folks from the tree:

Best Wishes to All!

A Bumgardner Cousin

This week I did wind up spending a lot of time in my maternal side of the tree -- specifically with the BUMGARDNER branch. I found several new cousins and a lot of interesting tidbits about some of them.

The information above pertains to a cousin that I never knew of before this past week. Her name is Anna Belle Bumgardner and if you click on the image you can see her lineage.

She is a 2nd cousin, daughter of Edward T & Grace Bumgardner and she married Wiley M Perkins and had, it looks like seven children. I never knew that I had Perkins as cousins. But they lived in -- where else -- Muscatine, Iowa.

And another interesting fact is seen from the 1936 Muscatine City Directory (above) that shows that Wiley makes his living as a "button cutter". A few posts ago we talked about Muscatine and the button cutting industry that so many of the population was involved with.

What will I find out next . . .

Flash from the Past (Gail's i.e.)

One of the benefits of Gail meeting with an old friend that she has almost known longer than any other friend is that they exchanged items that had meaning to each.

For Gail she received some photos from her past that she had not seen in a while AND some of the letters that she had written from way back when.

It is fun to share these types of things and it makes you wonder about "where all the time went"?

We will try to make it a point to schedule some possible other connections in the coming weeks with an eye to exchanging . . .

What's On Our Nightstand

Last night we finished the Carol Burnett book -- "This Time Together" and found it to be very entertaining, informative and quite emotional at points.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the read and purposely read smaller segments each night so as to keep the book going.

Tonight we will start a logical follow up to Carol's book with one by Tim Conway -- "What's So Funny?" Tim Conway was always and is always a very humorous person to say the least.

When Tim was on the Carol Burnett show along with Harvey Korman and the three of them did skits -- it was always side-splitting.

We are looking forward to this book and will probably mention it in future posts.

And Lastly

In a few days (10 or so) it will be Thanksgiving. We are just getting around to putting the left-over Halloween candy in a safe spot and now we are having to defrost the turkey for the big dinner.

About eight weeks ago we contracted to have the fence around our yard (and 5 of our neighbors as well) replaced -- of course the work will progress given that there is NO rain which is an uncertainty
at this point as it rained hard a couple of times this week and polar vortex or not it may rain next week as well . . .

So big deal -- fence or partial fence -- one fact remains:

So we can do the count-down and worry about getting our Christmas shopping done . . .

Saturday night -- the menu is "up in the air" surprisingly enough. See you all in a few!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


We adjusted just fine to the first week going back to "standard" time. Part of the reason is that the weather these past several days has been probably the finest of the year -- clear, crisp not too hot, not too cold. AND the full moon added so much this week.

A collage of some photos "outback" depicts the climate. The full moon hung high in the sky early in the morning at sunrise.  Later in the morning Dino sunned himself by the pool and Gail thought she was hidden by the turning leaves . . . and the Meyer lemons began turning their bright color.

The only real adjustment was getting Dino to wait that extra hour for dinner . . . but as usual he has adjusted as well. We hear that next week there could be some rain . . . and that is a good thing.

We are out of interesting sporting events for the time-being. Football for us in the Bay Area is just not up to the last couple of years and of course across the bay, well that is a story in itself.

Dates from Our Tree

This week of course several birthdays being celebrated and also a few wedding anniversaries:

I've starred some of the closer related to me ones, but best wishes to all!

A Newly Found Cousin

And yet again this week finds me in the "Gillett" branches as I search for relatives.

There are so many Gillett families that it may keep
me busy for a long long time.

This week Keith Curtis Gillett "jumped" out at me for some reason and while I did not find his photo, I did find a photo of his wife, Betty Jane Quigley.

To the left you can see how Keith & Betty are related to me -- 3rd cousins.

Keith comes from a line of Gilletts that are from Minnesota. But Keith & Betty wound up in Texas.

Keith joined the military in 1941 at the beginning of WWII.

Keith rose to be a Major in the U.S. Army. Both he and Betty are buried at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, Keith in 1977 and Betty in 2009.

To the right are just some of the new photos that I have added to the HILES website at

All are Gillett related and can be checked out at the site.

What I find so fortunate is that so many folks are now more than ever willing to share their photos -- and again I know that someone out there has some of the missing HILES family members that I seek.

One of the frustrating aspects of the Gillett search is that even on one genealogical record the name may be spelled differently throughout.

I simply have to ignore all the (e's) that are added to a Gillett that I know started without one. Apparently some individuals have allowed their Gillett names to have the "e" added and do not make the effort to correct it.

I have seen many Gillett families with their children listed with an "e" and then
again without the "e". It does get confusing at times.

Now -- GILLETT (no E) , Wisconsin

We have talked about the two HILES Wisconsin towns in earlier posts so it is about time to mention GILLETT (no E) Wisconsin.

Above you can see some tidbits about the town -- and just like the two HILES, Wisconsin towns, I have not (yet) drawn the relationship from them to our branch.

Rodney Stephen Gillett apparently founded the town of GILLETT (no E), Wisconsin back in the times when Wisconsin was barely a state and when the area was mostly populated by Indians.

I do not believe that I have ever been in the town, but if I get back to Wisconsin I would like to visit it. It is about 37 miles NE of Green Bay and has a population of around 2000 folks.

Above are a few facts and pics of the town gotten from Wikipedia and other sites on the web. You can click on the collage for better details.

And Lastly -- What's On Our Nightstand

Well, we finally finished the around 700 page, very detailed book about John (Duke) Wayne much to the relief of Gail and we have started the much shorter, lighter and actually more entertaining stories presented by Carol Burnett.

The book is filled with short stories of Carol's experiences in her TV life.
Since her show was one that we always watched and remember, the book is quite refreshing.

And as usual we are learning bits and pieces of the lives of many other celebrities throughout the pages. It won't take us long to finish this book, so we tend to stop short (so-to-speak) so as to not finish it too fast . . .

That is a bit of our week -- it is Saturday and it may mean burgers . . . see you all in a few!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What a Week . . .

Of course we were on "pins & needles" after the Giant's game on Tuesday, but it makes for a very satisfying finish if you are a Giants fan . . . on Wednesday, the 7th and final game:

The above shows the outcome but does not tell the whole story. The Royals were one itsy bitsy swing of the bat away from a "walk-off" win. There was a man on third base in the last of the Royals 9th inning just waiting to come  home. Of course that did not happen.

San Francisco celebrated big-time from Wednesday til now, as well they (we) should . . .

Of course the other big event this week was Halloween and in sympathy with teachers everywhere it fell on a Friday:

We saw the weather forecast early in the day calling for rain throughout various times of the day including the evening hours -- only part of that happened. It rained early in the day and was crystal clear the rest of the day AND evening.

Gail was worried that we would run out of goodies, but I knew we had back-up if it came to that. Last year we only had a few visitors and I didn't see how that would change much.

The merchants in town now offer a much safer and easier way for the goblins to gather goodies. So from 6:00 p.m. til 8:00 p.m. we had exactly 34 actual trick or treaters -- so we could be a little bit liberal when handing out the sweet stuff.

And we have learned that another part of town is where the action winds up due to the closeness of the houses both to each other and to the street -- developers should keep that in mind.

From the Tree

It always amazes me to see how many celebrations that we have among our tree dwellers:

Lots of birthdays but a lot of wedding anniversaries as well for next week. Best wishes to all!

While Noodling Around in the Tree

I like looking for pictures of folks from our tree. This week while seeking some pictures I stumbled across a photo that someone put in their tree for a person that I knew we were related to, but I did not know any of the details of her life.

The picture was all wrinkled and bent and torn -- and so it jumped right out as a challenge to see if I could clean it up a bit and offer it back for all of us.

After about an hour of working on the photo, using Picasa, I came up with what I felt was a good presentable picture of a very cute little girl.  The picture on the left I'm sure was the only toddler picture probably available.

I hoped that her closer relatives would approve which lead me to delve into her story more so that I would know how she was related to me.

It turns out that the "Gillett Family" again came into the picture. Clicking on the chart on the left you can see the path down the Gillett side and the Hiles side.

At the bottom you can see that Georgia Clock is actually a 3rd Cousin -- same generation too.

It should be noted that I have Georgia's line all with pictures and on my line I do not have a picture for Emily Adeline Gillett or her husband
John Hiles, my Great Grandfather.

I kept searching for more facts about Georgia and I ran across several sites/trees that contained her story -- I found it unbelievably sad and needed to be shared with as many of us relatives as possible.

One of the trees that I came across was actually from her daughter Kim. Georgia and her husband actually had seven children. Following is a piece of what Kim wrote about in her tree:

Click on the above to read what she has to share about her Mother and her experience of their last contact.

In summary, our Cousins have gone through a most tragic event that took their Mother from them.
And I happened on the story really because of that torn and wrinkled photo that I saw in an tree . . .

An Update from Marv's 80th

My brother held his 80th birthday celebration in style. The folks were great, the food was great and most of all Marv enjoyed the party along with the rest of us:

Above is a collage of some of the photos for the event -- unfortunately I did not realize it but the flash on my new camera did not always materialize when needed, so some photos were yellowed a bit.

And Lastly this Week

It is hard to believe but it is that "time" again -- the task of changing all the clocks -- we do it in stages. Some even require the ladder . . .

It is though Saturday and that does mean -- burger & fries tonight!  See you all in a few!