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Saturday, December 27, 2014

. . . A Christmas Moon all through the Week . . .

Each evening off the deck in the west appears a "Christmas Moon" and on Christmas Night it appeared as a yellow crescent in the sky above our arbor. The air was crisp and clear and while on the phone with my daughter I snapped a few pictures, one of which appears in the collage following:

The moon was an orangery color and hung for viewing for an hour or so and then moved on . . .

Then there is our tree, which on Christmas Day we doubled our ornaments through the gifting process. We have room for maybe one more, which we'll work on.

Lastly, we have our Christmas Ham (BA) covered in a spicy glaze. We'll eat the ham probably at a variety of mealtimes til New Year's . . . then when it is just a knobby bone with trimmings we'll make pea soup -- like we used to stop and get at "Andersen's" in Buellton, California . . .

Baby, It's Cold Outside

One of my Christmas gifts this week was the "cool" weather station to the left.

This morning as I was letting Dino outside I noticed just how cold it was -- an even 32 degrees -- would we have a skating rink in the back yard -- NOT.

It is nice as there is a transmitter that you put outside somewhere and that sends the signal inside to the monitor.

It also receives signals from a satellite to update the time and date.

The display is easy to see from the couch and it will be interesting to see if it ever predicts snow . . .

Lots of Truck Traffic this Week

While they weren't the only delivery trucks that made their way to our door this week -- they were the most common.

Since we do so much of our shopping online now versus brick & mortar, one main issue is the amount of packing and shipping material that we have to dispose of . . .

I ordered a couple of things yesterday that they said would be delivered on Sunday -- and that usually means by USPS delivery truck.

Dino never barks at the delivery folks and he gets excited whenever there are packages arriving -- some of which might contain his
food items.

These were some of the Christmas Week items and there were several others as well.

Everything came on time and all in one piece as well.

We added some things to the fish tank (just not any fish at the moment) that's why it looks so clean and nice . . . maybe we'll look for some virtual fish.

I don't think the Boeing Buff is being worn in one of the ways illustrated, but it is unique.

Dates from the Tree

The final week of the year, and there were plenty of celebrants:

Several birthdays come next week, The asterisks denote closer relationships. The anniversaries have both my Great Grandfather and my Great Great Great Grandfather celebrating.

Best wishes to them all!

Dino Enjoys the Week!

Dino got company this week -- and he can stay. We thought about a pup, but settled on this guy. The new addition actually startled us a couple of times when we spotted him on the bed (Dino has never been on our bed).

And while we were opening our gifts we gave Dino one of his -- a piece of a deer or elk antler. He loved it and stayed on his mat and chewed for almost the entire day.

His friend is actually larger than he is, and is quiet like Dino too. The top right shows Dino totally enjoying his chew . . .

The Status of the Search

Well, this week brought some new focus -- a new program -- "Map My Family Tree" -- by Progeny Genealogy:

The above maps are filled with red dots, plotted by the program. Each dot represents an event, e.g. birth, marriage,  or death locations for the folks who are in our tree.

I just started using the program and hope that I can use it to both visually see the migration of our ancestors and to clean up location reference points.

Another new program this week -- "Dragon Naturally Speaking" by Nuance. I have started the process of integrating its use into my everyday online activities. I started with getting the system
used to my voice and pattern of speech.

Eventually,  it will type for me as I speak -- it will be a learning curve. It also will allow me to navigate Internet sites and fill in forms and data with voice commands.

We'll see how all this progresses.

And Finally

That is a bit of our week, we are enjoying the holiday season and it feels like we are on a holiday from work -- just like some of the rest of you -- even though we have not been engaged in employment for some time now.

This coming week we will welcome in the New Year once more -- 2015.  And tonight being Saturday we just might have burgers -- Ham burgers for sure.  Happy New Year to you all! See you in a few!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

'twas the week before Christmas and all . . .

It is amazing how the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas flies by! Fortunately we managed to squeeze in our Christmas shopping -- and none of it included a mall.

We did venture out to a couple of free standing stores to see if we would feel the "old holiday spirit" but that was not to be . . . it seemed chaotic and just not up to the old standards.

So we capture the spirit in other ways, like baking and wrapping gifts and standing in the lines at the post office -- nothing gives me the Christmas spirit like chatting in the post office line during the holidays. Actually it was not that bad this year.

So now we just count down to the big day -- 5 days to go . . . we keep busy with the normal day-to-day things plus some holiday shows on TV and maybe a visit here and there with friends and relatives.

Both of us have always enjoyed the holidays.  I do have one other purchase to make and that would be the Christmas ham. Ham has always been one of my favorite meats. So we look forward to ham dinner and the numerous leftovers as well.

Dates from our Tree

It's curious to see the increased numbers of both birthdays and anniversaries coming up next week:

And several of the events fall on Christmas Day as well . . . Best Wishes to all!

Activities this Week

We tried to stay inside most of the days this week as the rains came sporadically and it was just way more comfortable at home listening to the sounds of the weather.

Gail did some baking and I did some cooking and Dino played his "poor-me" role hoping for some extra bits of something, anything . . .

The muffins were great and we actually put some into Christmas baskets and delivered them to a few folks.

The whole chicken seen to the left with steam rising from it as it cooled was so tasty. Besides a couple of dinners of slices of chicken we also made a pot of delicious chicken soup.

There's just something about a bowl of hot homemade chicken soup, some crackers, a
good TV show and then maybe a nap to wrap
things up til dinner . . .

State of the Search

The search went on this week as usual. I did have some contact with a couple of cousins and I did watch a webinar about "bagging a live one" which was all about connecting with cousins that you did not know you had . . . I'm anxious to put into action some of the ideas shared there.

But this week I also decided to do some experimenting with various charting ideas found in a couple of the programs that I have from Progeny Genealogy -- "Charting Companion" and "3-D Family Tree".

The above is an example of a bow-tie chart of me and 3 other generations. It shows on the left side, my paternal and on the right side my maternal folks out to the great grandparents.

I sometimes forget that I have these programs and when I do re-discover them I am reminded of some of the places that I need to pay attention to . . .

Status of the Holiday Puzzle

While I work on creating charts and other goodies using the parts of our tree, Gail has
been working on the most difficult of puzzles.

When she started this a couple of weeks ago she swore that there was "no-way" to do this . . .

The challenge comes from the fact that while there is a beautiful picture to put together there is also a complete border (all the same color) that encompasses the entire puzzle.

She has, little-by-little accomplished a great deal as can be seen to the right.

Often she does her best work after leaving the puzzle for awhile and then upon returning finds a few pieces which creates enough energy to continue.

The one thing she has to remember is that she best NOT stand "for just a moment" to find that one piece . . . she needs to sit down and not be bent over while working on it.

Liberty Puzzles are a great way to spend time working on a Holiday Puzzle, they are always unique and the laser-cut shapes are always fun to work with . . .

And now a step back into the Future

In 1959 Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista government and began his regime.

In 1959, I moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in time to get a flavor of the Cuban doings.

I was in my senior year in high school and many of the kids I knew were spending $29 to fly to Havana and join in the celebrations.

I always wish that I had done that too as it would be fun to have that memory -- I think.

But shortly after this period Cuba became off-limits for U.S. citizens and it has taken it's toll on both the US and Cuba.

It came as a huge surprise that we as a country will reestablish a relationship with Cuba and soon we will see hopefully exciting changes.

It won't be too long before all the game shows will be giving away trips to Havana and Cuban cigars will once again be able to be brought legally into the country. I have to say that I have always enjoyed Cuban cigars -- though I have not smoked in many years.

Aside from the trips and cigars there are many things that I hope both the Cuban people and us benefit from -- for example an open exchange of ideas and cultural events that enhance all of our lives.  We'll see . . . and we look forward to this positive bit of foreign news for a change.

That was a bit of our week -- we wish all a great Christmas!  It is Saturday night, menu TBD.

See you all in a few!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pineapple Express -- 12/13/14 . . .

Right now it is a beautiful sunny Saturday. I believe that we are in-between storms. The news all week has been about the storming on both coasts. But today you'd have no idea here that we had weather . . .

Above are some of the pictures taken in our town on Thursday, December 11. We were busy at home and never left the house and enjoyed the sounds of rain -- AND we were lucky too in that we did not lose power.

We had no idea that the town was in the condition that even Scott Pelley on the CBS National News (Western Edition) talked about. We saw it on local and national news and couldn't believe our eyes.

So Friday we decided to go have a look-see . . . we found NO water anywhere but a few scattered sandbags were spotted. The water had gone back to wherever it goes. No kayaks, canoes or rain gear was seen . . .

But, there is supposed to be more rain tomorrow and the next few days, so maybe we'll see some more water sports.

We are also glad that we do not live among the 12 giant oak trees that we used to live under -- many trees have been downed so we'll have to drive by to check on the old homestead.

Unfortunately I think we are still in a drought condition.

Next Week Dates from our Tree

There are more than 30 celebrating birthdays next week and about half as many wedding anniversaries:

Best wishes to all!

Speaking of Dates

Thanks to Gail for pointing this out to me, but today is the last sequential date of this year. And as the AP article reported, it is the last sequential calendar date for at least 20 years.

The next sequential date is coming January 2, 2034.

And if you are waiting for 1-2-3, that will return
on January 2, 2103, another 89 years away.

I have always found it fun to notice the sequences in dates but I do not have any sequential dates matching up with significant life events -- that I am aware of anyway.

Nostalgic Holiday Ads

Growing up the following ads were everywhere in the local and national newspapers and magazines:

Thanks to and magazine for the above ads. These familiar ads eventually faded out of use just as the glass bottles did.

I still prefer soft drinks in glass bottles over aluminum cans or plastic bottles. But even though I still see some ads showing glass bottles, at least here in California they are non-existent -- except for some specialty ones and for some bottled in Mexico.

I remember working in supermarkets in the 50s and having to "work" the bottle rooms. Growing up bottles got a 2 cent deposit charged to each which meant that people brought the empties back to a store that sold that brand.

And the deposit money came in handy for us kids when we found them in quantitiy and took the time to lug them back . . . saving the environment too.

The Status of the Search

I did a lot of miscellaneous searching this week without really any major or significant finds. Some of the surnames that I worked on:  HILES, BOULDRON, BUMGARDNER, CALHOUN, CLARK, CARR, DEARING, DUPLER, FILLMORE, GILLETT, KETCHUM, LEHMAN, MARTIN, NELSON, RAHMAN, ROT, SHAFFER, SWANSON and a few others

I also attended a very good webinar this week. The webinar was all about searching North Carolina relatives -- unfortunately there are very few (if any) relatives from our tree from North Carolina.

However, there was still much to be learned because of the process that can be utilized for other areas and places.

Early Gifting for Some . . .

Dino got his wish yesterday. We decided that it could not wait until the 25th  . . .

We gave Dino a peanut butter flavored bone on June 24th of this year and he has chewed it almost everyday since.

The stubby bone on the right is all that is left of a very large Nyla-bone pictured new on the left.

It wasn't only for Dino in that he brings it to one of us to hold while he gnaws away and that little nub was getting too difficult to hold. Now he has about six months to chew on the new chew and that's pretty good -- just two bones a year.

We haven't told him but he is getting an Elk antler too as a special gift item . . . for Christmas.

The Special Holiday Decorations

We're old . . . for the first time in 7 decades there will not be a large full size Christmas tree in our living area at home.

We are very content with our holiday decor this year and as someone on TV mentioned earlier this week, the smaller sized tree just makes those gifts all that larger . . .

And with the ever present Yankee Candle -- Christmas Wreath flavor -- burning, it smells like Christmas too.

So, we are set for Christmas in terms of decorations -- we do have a little shopping yet to do, but mostly waiting for UPS, Fedex and the USPS to bring us stuff that we have ordered.

So that is a bit of our week, we hope yours is going well too! See you all in a few!

It is Saturday night, we might have burgers, or then again we might have fish . . .

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Careful What We Wish For . . .

Okay, we wished for rain -- and we got way more than we bargained for . . . if we could just spread it out a bit it would be sooo much more beneficial.  But in the meantime we may have a break.

Technically it is still fall here for a couple of weeks and the view looking out our kitchen window gives us proof of that. Then, stepping out the front door and looking back we are reminded of the Christmas Season -- Dino can't see the wreath at the moment but he loved helping to open the box.

We know how fast the time goes between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year -- we hardly have finished the leftovers from that holiday dinner and we are planning the next holiday meal -- it most likely will not be turkey (though we love turkey).

Speaking of Christmas:

So in about two and one-half weeks we hope to have finished our shopping and the truck traffic on our street may be reduced a bit as the UPS, Fedex and others will have delivered all the packages.

Dates For Next Week

Lots of birthdays next week -- including one for my daughter, my sister and a nephew.

Six couples also celebrate wedding anniversaries.

Search Results

This week I did manage to check out a different branch of the tree and it came about because of a DNA possible connection:

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have given DNA samples to three different services:
FTDNA, 23&Me and AncestryDNA.

This week I connected with D.M. as seen to the left, to verify if we are related somehow.

AncestryDNA thinks the possible range is 4th - 6th cousins . . .

After communicating via email I could easily determine that we were indeed related and probably as 3rd cousins.

The D.M. stands for David Thomas Moseley and we are connected via his Grandmother, Sadie.

His Grandmother, Sadie Lucille is the daughter of Hester Jane Hiles (Hester is the sister of my Gr Grandfather John Hiles).

On the right you can check out a snippet of the tree branch showing how the 3rd cousin relationship comes about.

I haven't had a look at David's tree, but from what I have I find a lot of Moseley folks in and around our tree.

They are and were mostly in the Monroe County area of Wisconsin though I have seen many that have branched into far away states -- just like most families.

This connection brought to my attention through AncestryDNA is successfully proven to be accurate.

Another AncestryDNA Possible

The above brings up another possible connection proposed by Ancestry -- and that is the connection of Gail to me . . .

AncestryDNA is saying that Gail and I are cousins -- possible range of 4th to 6th Cousins.

I think that I have mentioned this before but we know for sure that Gail in her first marriage had married a cousin -- now is it true that she has been married to me for twenty some years and that we ARE cousins as well . . .

To the left shows a chart about how 4th cousins are related. We have not figured out the actual connection as yet -- but I am sure that it will be interesting to say the least . . .

The tricky part is that 4th cousins are related through Gr Gr Gr Grandparents and if I am

figuring this out right -- I have 32 Gr Gr Gr Grandparents. And I have not identified those 32 folks as yet -- so I have my work cut out for me . . . not to mention that Gail has 32 sets of Gr Gr Gr Grandparents as well.

On my paternal side, John Hiles Jr & Charity Reed are my 3rd Gr Grandparents. On Gail's paternal side her 3rd Gr Grandparents are William Bouldron & Elizabeth Jatten. Only 31 more sets to identify.

Ain't genealogy fun!

What is on our Nightstand Now

Well we just finished reading Tim Conway's "What's So Funny?" Okay we have a couple more pages to read but we read the "epilogue" and that should have been it, but Tim threw in a bonus couple of pages -- but we will read those tonight and then begin:

We both have always enjoyed Billy Crystal over the years and look forward to reading his book. This will be the third biography in a row of a comedian that we have read. We're enjoying comedy for a change after the very long sagas for other stars recently read.

And Lastly

We are just taking it easy and are content to enjoy the moment and the spirit of the times much like the picture here:

Just give us a comfortable chew toy and two or three squares a day and we're fine . . .

Speaking of squares -- tonight is Saturday Night and that may mean -- burger & fries!

See you all in a few!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bleak Friday -- Football Fest -- Leftovers

A bit later than usual, but catching up as fast as we can . . . Thanksgiving was filled with the traditional dinner menu complete with the roasted butterball turkey (done in 90 minutes) , twice baked potatoes, delicious stuffing, cranberries and of course green beans & rolls.

While dinner was being prepared Gail worked on the current challenging puzzle and Dino was hoping for some "spillage" of turkey carvings. Gail had more success than Dino. While this puzzle is very difficult she is making daily progress and at the current rate will be done in a few months . . .

Thanksgiving day was perfect for relaxing -- two dog shows and three football games to choose from.

The Butterball oil-free roaster finished roasting our 12 pound turkey in about 90 minutes. The perfectly done turkey tasted great and we have a bit left for the coming days. Dino only got a whiff of the poultry fragrance.

But sadly the dinner was eaten while watching the evening football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco Forty-Niners and that may be where indigestion began -- just kidding, but not about the game.

Dates from the Tree

Thanksgiving we had several birthdays and a few anniversaries listed on that day. Next week we have some of each but no holidays that I know of:

So best wishes to all the folks celebrating next week!

Status of the Search

Well, last week I continued my additions to the CALHOUNs from Gail's side. There are soooo many of them and there is a ton of material waiting to be found.

On the left are just a few of the many Calhoun members that I found pictures for in various places.

These can be found at our website:   Hiles Website
and please explore the hundreds of pictures available along with many other documents.

I am trying to catch up with a lot of various things this week and hopefully I will even branch out into other family groups this coming week.

It was bittersweet to view the finale this week of "Finding Your Roots". I am sure that they will be back next season with what I believe is a truly quality show.

I learned a lot about some very well-known folks and watched them as they were given details about their families that they knew very little about.

Speaking of Learning

One of the nice things about a four day week-end holiday is that on Friday and Saturday there is the feeling of perfect "buffer" days. Friday it is traditionally a day devoted to shopping -- for us the only shopping we did was at the drug store . . . thus "bleak" Friday.

But on Saturday while it rained off and on throughout the day we just were content to "let the world fly by". But one event for me was prominent in that it was a 3 1/2 hour webinar.

It was a special Holiday Boot Camp:

It was presented by Thomas MacEntee and Lisa Alzo. I have attended other sessions with them both and they have always been excellent.

This session did not disappoint. They covered numerous topics and had many many links for following up. I appreciate the way that they deliver material and realize at the same time that there is soooo much more that I could be doing.


The thread of the last four days was woven with NFL games and two dog shows. Football was a good escape this week. The major negative was the nightmare of the Forty-Niner game with the Seahawks on Thanksgiving Night:

On the right, right at the top is the lackluster showing of the Niners.

There was only one score for the Niners and that of course was not even a TD . . .

On a brighter note though it was interesting to see the response that the Raiders gave to a follow up to their only win (last week) by losing to the Rams by a huge score . . .

We did enjoy the Broncos win over the Chiefs though we felt bad for Alex Smith.

Tonight we can only wonder who will dominate that game . . .

It is hard to believe that three months of football has already
gone by -- the talk now is about the "playoffs" . . . or in the case
of the Niners, probably the lack of . . .

That was a bit of our week -- See you all in a few!