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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sutter & Back, Napa Two

With an incredible timing, we made our second trip to Napa yesterday to have Dino evaluated for the hospital therapy training for him and for us.

This time, there was no intermittent rain squalls with only sunshine to guide us all the way there and back.

We did not see a repeat of the rainbow that we witnessed last week -- but we did see absolute stunning color throughout the region. The vineyards are blooming between the rows of vines with mustard plants.

Mustard plants are therapeutic for grapevines and they add such an amazing blanket of visual pleasure for those of us driving by . . .

In Napa, it was a successful morning for Dino as he passed his evaluation to be certified to visit folks in hospitals as a therapy dog.

He got measured for his new vest and pictures taken for his badge (along with ones for us too).

We have one more meeting in Napa (next week) and then later a trip to a hospital with a mentoring party and then Dino will be given his vest and we will work on arranging where to visit first.

It is ironic, but this certification DID NOT come in time to visit Gail this week who spent three days in the hospital with an emergency appendectomy.

Early Tuesday morning Gail had undiagnosed symptoms and after talking with our doctor, he recommended that we go into the E.R.

We arrived at the E.R. midmorning and for the next nine hours she was being attended to there.

There were two or three possible diagnoses and eventually it was decided that she be admitted to the hospital. The only problem was that the hospital was full AND the hospitals in the local area were also full . . .

Eventually, around 7 p.m. a room at Sutter became available and she was admitted. At 7:30, a surgeon appeared ready to perform surgery as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the E.R. did not tell the hospital about the surgery and Gail had been given a dinner and eaten it . . .

This meant that the surgery could not take place until about 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. Wednesday which it did.
The good news is that all went well. Gail was discharged late on Thursday and is recuperating at home.

She has done well, with only a smattering of pain, but is very sleepy and tired. She did feel strong enough to see Dino go through his evaluation in Napa.

So, what a week and that is why I mentioned "incredible timing" because a day later and we would not have been up for Napa. Gail was in the hospital about 80 hours and I attended for about 20 of those hours. Needless to say, our week was disjointed but hopefully is coming back together again.

Coming up . . .

Who could forget Iowa and the caucuses that will be taking place tomorrow there.

I'm not real clear on what takes place during a "caucus" but I do know that there will be results.

And those results will be broadcast and used for analysis everywhere.

Apparently the caucuses meet mainly in private homes and local halls and there are differences between how the Republicans hold a caucus and how the Democrats hold their caucuses.

The next day, Tuesday, is another event -- Ground Hog Day.

If that day came one day sooner (in Iowa) the woodchucks would probably all go back to hibernating what with all the caucus stuff casting shadows everywhere . . .

Then, on that same day (or any day if you record the program) will be another interesting genealogy program featuring "finding the roots of Richard Branson" and two others.

After visiting Gail in the hospital, and eating a very late dinner, I watched last week's Finding Your Roots that featured Jimmy Kimmel and two others.

I absolutely enjoy this show and only wish that it would be on for a longer period of time.

And lastly this week, there will be the SuperBowl, SuperBowl 50, here in the Bay Area.

The festivities have already commenced with the opening of "SuperBowl City" in the heart of San Francisco. There are numerous events and attractions for millions of visitors to enjoy.

I'm glad that Gail & I no longer live in the city because I know that the huge influx of people would have some impact on our everyday lives there.

We can enjoy all the events and attractions from "afar" just as most of the country will. We just hope that the hype surrounding the game will still let us see a decent football game.

We may be purchasing extra avocados this week and then go from there with an appropriate menu to watch the game.

That's a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

NAPA and Back . . .

The weekend started in a way different mode for us . . . while we are often up early we haven't been leaving the house early except for yesterday. We left the house shortly after 7:15 am, unheard of lately. It is hard to believe that we could be dressed and ready to go at this time anymore and yet for most of our career days -- we did it all the time.

Let me explain about the above photo we took on our return trip from Napa. We drove to Napa because of a class that we decided to take to certify Dino and ourselves as volunteers for an organization that offers "paws for healing".  I'll explain more of that later.

First, after the class and on the return home, there were rain squalls every few minutes and the sun was trying to break through all along the route. Suddenly we saw the traces of a rainbow and it got more and more brilliant as we seemed to almost drive under the two ends . . .

I pulled over as many on the road did, to take a few snaps and when I got back in the car I checked to see what the photos looked like (isn't digital nice) and much to my dismay, the camera had run out of charge . . . it wasn't until I arrived home and charged it up that I found that I did get some snaps of the best rainbow that I think we have seen.

Thinking about Napa, it always seems sooo far away and yet, as you can see from the map, it is "not that far" -- about 48 miles or so to where we were headed.

At the bottom right, just before Yountville, is where we spotted the rainbow, as marked on the map.

We have two more classes in Napa, so it will be fun to see the changing weather events each trip.

And we plan to pick up burgers -- next trip -- at the world famous "Gott's Roadside Burgers" in St. Helena.

So, more about "Paws for Healing":

The community-based program was started many years ago  after discovering the seemingly magical healing power that dogs have in the period of need for folks in hospitals and other locations like rest homes.

I can attest to how nice that feeling is/was when three years ago this week, I was in a hospital room and Dino was allowed to visit me. Not only did it brighten my day, but the staff loved it as well.

In class,  we were informed that one of the main reasons that folks want to "get out of the hospital" is to revisit their pets -- of course among other obvious reasons.

And so, we felt that it was time for Dino (and us) to get back to work. If all goes well in the class then we can expect to be visiting some local hospitals and rest type homes in the coming months.

And now, what things did we find while searching this week?

Well, I certainly was "all over the map" as it pertained to the family tree, but I did receive a new book this week -- "The Family History Web Directory".

When I ordered it (from where else, Amazon) I had not read the description too clearly, because

my mind stopped at the title . . . but upon receiving the book, I clearly see that most of the websites that are listed are from England and environs.

So, while I don't have "HILES" tied to the United Kingdom, I do know that Gail's family is proven to be from England -- so I found a website listed (above) called Durham Records Online and quickly punched in the surname BOULDRON and up popped 18 Bouldrons that I did not have in her tree.

Since her family did come from the area and I know that for sure, probably most of these folks are direct ancestors of hers. I have my work cut out for me to prove any or all of them . . .

Back home again, it has been raining off and on all week.

Nosing around in the back yard I was intrigued to find the "bud" pictured on the right.

It just seems so early and as you think about the rest of the country -- New York, Washington DC, and so, with all the new snow storms yesterday and today -- it is amazing.

And what else is amazing?

The addition to the tree of another Great Grandchild for James Hiles (our cousin).

Our congratulations to him and his family.

Recall that we just "met" Jim in the previous year through the miracle of the Internet.

Jim is the Grandson of the Reverend Stacey William Hiles that we had featured also in a post last year.

Through the communication of that post, another cousin of ours put us in touch with Jim and his family.

Keep up the good work Jim, and thanks for sharing the news!

And lastly,

What will we be doing the rest of today . . . I wonder:

And so that is a slice of our week -- during the first game, I may also be making a pot of chili. Not just any chili, but a tomatillo, pork chili in a chili sauce of dried Anaheim peppers along with some hominy and other things that I find in the cupboard . . . I'll let you know how that turns out -- Oh and I will probably make some cornbread to go with it as well . . .

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Playoffs, Playoffs, Debatable

This has been another on again off again week in terms of weather. At the moment, it is raining but the sun is trying to break through. Yesterday was similar, but the sun was successful.  Earlier the rains came -- a lot. The nice thing though is that while it rains very hard for a day it then relaxes enough so that so far the ground is absorbing the water and very little flooding is the result.

Above is what it looks like outback today. I show the bird feeding stations because in between the downpours, the birds (all kinds) are very actively eating. Sometimes from the feeders, but a lot from the large apple tree in the next yard that still has some hanging fruit for the taking.

You can see at least three varieties of birds and one variety of Labrador and one of apple . . .

Dino loves the sounds of the rain and spends a lot of time "resting". He will reluctantly go out for a business trip every few hours or so.

It seems like springtime with to see the very large Robins flying around. Besides the seeds and apples, there is an abundance of large
worms to feed on.

The sun has broken through once again and soon it will just seem like a summer day again.

More rain is scheduled for the coming week and that's a very good thing.

We're hoping that the drought will be finally a thing of the past.

Off to the left is my "search collage" from this week.

Again I hit a variety of web sites and found a huge variety of things to put into the tree.

One of these days I'll hopefully catch up on the more than 10,000 screenshots that I have accumulated relating to the family is some sort of a way.

Each week I take more and more screen shots as I run around the web. I try to do the filing as I go, but that never works out. The hunt is so much more fun than the filing . . .

One thing though that I really enjoyed was discovering that I had a copy of the signature of my Great Great Great Grandfather. I have had it for some time, but had not identified it as such:

The signature was put on the pension papers of John Jr's son, George W Hiles after he was killed in the Civil War in 1862. The signature dates to 1863.

That means that John Jr was about 74 at the time that he signed. He lived for another 12 years, dying at the age of 86. It is just amazing to see his actual signature. Some others witnessing that document did so with their "mark".

Coming up in just a little bit will be the first game of the NFL divisional playoffs this weekend.

We plan to watch all four of these games as we did last weekend.

The playoff games are usually filled with the energies of both teams as they all know that it is a "do or die" situation.

Lastly, this weekend, we plan to watch the Democratic debate on Sunday Night.  We just watched the Republican debate a couple of nights ago.

The race is getting more intense and somewhat interesting. The Republicans, it is rumored, has been whittled down to just four candidates.

The Democrats still have all three candidates . . .

Next year at this time there will be a new president. Who is it going to be. Time will tell.

And so that is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"

Saturday, January 9, 2016

On Again, Off Again -- The Weather

It has been an interesting weather week and it looks as though that pattern will continue into the coming days. It is hard to predict when we leave the house whether we will be hit with a deluge or bask in sunlight -- we actually are enjoying either.

The next week's weather is predicted above -- three days of rain, three days of sun and one gray day.

Dino has taken to curling up on one of his mats most of the day. When it is time to go on a business trip, he usually doesn't take a long time to finish his business and get back inside as soon as possible.

He is not a fan of water except frozen cubes of water as a treat. We marvel over the fact that he enjoys ice cubes all year around.

Two Events this Week

This week started two events that I enjoy -- "Finding Your Roots" and "Legacy Family Tree Webinars" :

"Finding Your Roots" began last Tuesday and was one of the best so far. It is amazing the details that Henry Louis Gates finds out about the three folks that are featured each week. Coming up next Tuesday will also be another very interesting week as Gates has a way of weaving the featured folks together somehow.

Then the first webinar of the year was presented by Lisa Louise Cooke and she always does a fantastic job. The topic was a favorite of mine -- "Unleash Your Inner Private Eye". Finding details re living folks is usually difficult but Lisa gave several of her tips on how to be successful at it.

I'll continue to practice "being a gumshoe" it is very fascinating to work at that, and you never know what will "pop-up".

Here is a collage of some of the things that I was looking at this week while practicing:

There is never a dull moment as I accumulate a huge variety of documents, photos, charts and graphs relating to some branch in the tree. The problem continues to be -- how do I manage to file all this material in the appropriate place and how do I update the tree with all this newly uncovered detail.

For someone like me who is retired from a career it certainly provides me with a never-ending supply of work.

Two Events Coming Up

In just a few minutes the Wild Card playoff games will begin.

The Chiefs will be playing the Texans for the Wild Card slot in the AFC.

Later today, the Steelers will be playing the Bengals for the Wild Card slot in the NFC.

Tomorrow also will be two exciting games as well:  Seahawks vs the Vikings and then the Packers vs the Redskins.

Guess whose iPad will be working overtime in the next couple of days. I use the "couch time" to multitask usually as I watch the games. So I do my online family search sleuthing while enjoying, hopefully, the game that I am watching.

I have to be careful though that I do not look at any news alerts about the games as we watch them in recorded mode. Just love technology -- most of the time.

The other event "coming up" is, of course, the PowerBall Lotto.

It is unbelievable that the total jackpot was over $900 million at the time I purchased my ticket.

I have to say that there is a lot more interest in the drawing "when one has a ticket" . . .

It matters NOT to me what the odds are, for maybe someone will win this day.

If no-one wins tonight, I can not imagine what will happen next week.

So that is a bit about our week here in rainy/sunny Healdsburg, California. It is Saturday and that
means burgers burritos.  Enjoy the weekend, see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Come and Gone . . . Fast

That was fast, we just ate the last of the pumpkins, the last of the turkey, the pea soup made from the Christmas ham bone and now it is a whole new year! And it is cold and rainy as well. The last few nights have been in the 20s, so lots of frost in the morning.

We managed to stay on track by taking down all semblances of Christmas -- except the wreath. We will leave that up for a few more days.

Driving throughout the neighborhood, we saw the remnants curbside of the season, soon there will be little left as we move into the new year.

Tradition has it that we watch the Pasadena Rose Parade on New Year's Day, and we did.

I have enjoyed the parade for years after the few years that I lived in Pasadena and enjoyed the parade first-hand at that time.

It was fun watching the parade floats being built and then the parade and then the display afterward.

But, I have to say that some of the images of the floats are becoming variations of themes over the years. There are only so many ways to depict but yet each year we are amazed at how the floats still manage to create unique and appealing displays.

It did take us several hours to view the parade as we put it on hold several times to do other household tasks, but eventually, we did see the entire parade.

So, what follows the parade -- brunch usually, but in this case, it was just lunchtime.

We only saw a handful of college football games this year -- but we did not want to miss the "Grandaddy of them all".

It was, of course, the traditional type match up of a Midwest team versus a west coast team:
Stanford Cardinal vs the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The very first play of the game illustrated what was to follow throughout most of the game and that is: Stanford, Stanford, and more Stanford.

For a while,it seemed like Iowa might remain scoreless or clueless, but then a way too late barrage of offense gave them a few points in the second half. Nothing stopped the Cardinal though.

In years gone by we might have watched other bowl games, but this one game satisfied our interest.
We napped after the game to refresh ourselves in time to eat the pea soup that I made using the ham bone from the Christmas ham -- sooo good!

Coming up are the NFL playoffs starting on the 9th of January and the 10th with the Wild Card events.

Later, on the 16th & 17th are the Divisional Playoffs.

Followed by the Conference Championships on the
24th with both games happening on that day.

This all culminates in the Super Bowl which is
on Sunday, February 7 this year in the San Francisco
Bay Area.

We won't be going to the game, needless to say, but
certainly we hope to watch the game as we have done for most of the 49 previous Super Bowls.

Above you can see that "Finding Your Roots" starts anew this coming week, Tuesday, the 5th.

This show usually features three individuals each show and uncovers very interesting details about their family history.

I plan to watch these shows as I have in the past and just know that I'll enjoy them a lot. If you click on the above you can see the ten-week schedule and the folks that will be featured.

And lastly, just a reminder of the countdown:

The day will come fast, just like almost every other event recently.

That is a bit of our week. Enjoy the rest of this holiday week -- today and tomorrow, and for some of you it is "back to the grind" on Monday . . .

It is Saturday and so probably "dogs" for lunch and burgers pea soup for dinner!

See you all "in a few"!