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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 . . . But the Cubs Won!

Here it is, the very last day of the year 2016, never to be repeated. It is definitely a time to reflect over the year  and to look forward to the "new year 2017".

It is strange, but as I thought about the year and the positives and the negatives, the first event that came to mind was the Chicago Cubs and their World Series win.

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs that is one of the things I always wished for -- of course it still is a pleasant event no matter the fact that it is some 60 years later . . .

And it is Home Sweet Home and of course we look to the 2017 season with renewed anticipation.

And speaking of "Home Sweet Home" congrats to Lisa and Bob who will move into their new home in Arlington, Washington in just a couple of weeks.

They are looking forward to the five acres that comes with the house and to arranging the inside to their liking.

Hopefully Gail and I will be able to make the trip at some point to "check it all out".

Lisa & Bob are enjoying their holiday time-off from Boeing and Lisa recovering from surgery.

For some reason the following photo caught my eye and so I'm including it here as it does tie in to the topic of "homes":

It is an example to me of how the pride of home ownership is clearly in view. We used to see these homes somewhat regularly when we lived in San Francisco, now it is mostly in pictures that we get to enjoy their beauty.

I subscribe to's "Word of the Day" and the word for yesterday seemed very apropos
for this time of the year and life in-a-way:

I can't recall ever noticing this word before but given the year end and other events lately, it gave me pause. So, none of us really know when that stage is for sure, but the adding of the years is a definite clue.

And then thinking along those lines led me to a book that was just recently recommended to me and one that I also had not really noticed before -- but should have:

Being that genealogy has been my interest for the last twenty to thirty years, I should have taken note of this book years ago.

Even though almost every day I use a "dash" while recording genealogical events, I never really examined it like this book refers to it . . .

Of course the dash, is representative of the hopefully many years between the birth and death of individuals.

And so, the writing and collecting of events relative to a person's "dash" is desirable and a lasting legacy. 

Sadly we completed the second dates to two of our tree members in the last ten days. Eleanor Hiles on 27 Dec 2016 and her brother Richard Sigg on 20 Dec 2016.  Both their "dashes" were filled to the brim!  RIP.

And that is a bit of our week (and year), see you all "in a few" !

Happy New Year 2017 !

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Another New-Fashioned Christmas!

Christmas celebration has evolved for us. We still keep some of the "old" traditions like -- opening gifts on Christmas morning, friends and family visits and of course the Christmas dinner.

The above are some of the Christmas connections this year -- there are a load more that are in the holiday basket.

There was actually ice on the flower pots this morning and the temperatures here were below the freezing mark til mid-morning. No snow at our elevation, but the ski areas got some.

We have already met our interaction quota for the week and are expecting to add to that during the rest of the day.

We are planning on having a ham dinner this evening and for lunch -- home made tamales -- thank you Silvia very much!

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and if traveling a safe return to home.We are connecting again across the country via electronic means and telephone conversations and all the new-fashioned ways of communication.

That is a bit of our week and day -- see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

3 Days Before Winter, 26° -- 28° Here . . . COOL!

Who says it doesn't get cold here in California. Maybe compared to other spots in the country it doesn't -- but in the mid 20s is cold anywhere.

We have just three days before the official start to winter so what will that bring -- snow maybe here,
probably not, but it could and it has.

This is what it looked like about an hour after I went out this morning (to pick up the paper). The thermometer was fogged over but still readable in the 20s. There was a very nice calm and quiet sense to the street with the lawns frosted over.

It is projected to be a beautiful sunny day -- so the flag is out. The red-brown maple? tree across the street is amazing as usual.

The rainy days and the sunshine days are really nice to experience this year.  We have one week before Christmas and it is supposed to rain just after Christmas . . . okay, so there will be more snow in the mountains.

We've had a varied week with respect to activities. One of those activities is creating a new Christmas mailing list.

Straight forward until we started. Finding a user-friendly label program was NO fun at all. We tried two of three before finally getting one to semi-work.

Okay, so we are behind schedule a bit, but I think others may be as well -- it is the thought that counts.

We think we'll finish that task this afternoon.

Over seeing and heading up some of the tasks is a "well-lit" Gail.

Our projects are taken in steps and they include, wrapping, mailing, signing cards and as everyone knows -- a whole lot more.

We also have a bunch of recorded Christmas specials to watch in our leisure.

We have certain specials that we watch every year e.g. the Saturday Night Live Christmas Special -- always entertaining, but mostly with the original cast members.

As is sometimes the case, we have a couple of Hiles family tree members convalescing -- Eleanor Hiles is resting at home after being in the hospital last week. Gail & I were able to have a very nice visit with Eleanor on Wednesday -- she lives just about 5 minutes from us.

And Lisa Hiles (my daughter) is recuperating from surgery on Friday. Unfortunately Gail and I could not travel the 850 miles to visit her -- but send our "Best Wishes" for a speedy recovery.

The following group also sends cheer to both of the above (and to all of us):

We love dogs as do both recuperating Hiles. We can only hope it cheers them up during this period.

Currently it is a challenging time for weather related conditions. There is another Hiles family tree member who is "out and about" and "in the thick of it" as I write this.

A particularly haunting photograph actually tells the story much better:

Somewhere near Chicago last week, Dayton Hiles took this photo of the vehicle that he drives.

He started this new adventure filled career just a few weeks ago. I believe that since this photo he has moved even more into heavy weather . . .

At first I though how nice the photo would look if it were at least in color and not a B/W . . . then of course I saw that it WAS in color -- only that there wasn't much color to see . . .

I hope that Dayton turns this type of experience into great stories to share with the family and friends.

What a bleak looking photo -- I hope that it is warm & toasty in the cab.

And at our house and most everyone's house -- there are rules to follow.  Here is an appropriate sign that I found "Oh, so insightful"  I spotted it on

So if you are planning to "leave your children at our house for a spell" expect this to occur.

I think it is a fabulous solution to a once in a while happening.
And every kitten deserves a home with a high-spirited child . . .

That's a bit of our week before Christmas. The smell of slow cooked pulled pork is wafting through the house and we look forward to dinner.

See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Holiday Interlude . . .

This period between Thanksgiving and Christmas goes quickly. We know it and every year we are surprised when it happens. There is a lot of activity that takes place and those activities evolve over time.

But Christmas is two weeks from today. There still is so much to do to be "ready" for the big day. and then there are the everyday things that have to be done as well -- in years past that meant work, as in a job type things to do. Now it is things other than work that takes up our time:

There is the decorating to do and the watching of Christmas shows and events on TV and in person. There are other holiday functions like dinners to attend and give . . . and then there is the time to kick back and just relax -- like Santa in the above "ad" from yesteryear.

We have had some periods of rain and some of sunshine lately and guess what tree in our yard is loving it -- our Meyer lemon tree. It is way overflowing again this year -- I think I just finally pulled the remaining lemons from last season off when I find hundreds of brand new bright yellow lemons.

So now everyday, I pick at least six lemons from the tree. We accumulated a few and we turned those right into some delicious chocolate-chip cookies -- how?  We quietly gave our favorite baking neighbor a box of lemons and a few days later we received a box of cookies -- what a deal.

We brought a large bag of lemons to the medical assistant we see each week -- and she loves them -- she juices them and freezes the juice in ice cube trays for later use . . .

We're out of cookies, time to deliver another batch to maybe get a batch.

This week in between our regular chores I did get a chance to view this week's Webinar Wednesday:

I attended the weekly webinar which addressed "Becoming a Genealogy Detective" and enjoyed it very much. It is still available for viewing "free of charge" for the next couple of days.

And starting this week -- we can sign up for some or all of the upcoming 2017 Webinars by going to the above website and signing up -- no charge. Very nice and rewarding.

And, if you are wondering about gift ideas . . . the
well wrapped package to the right is appropriate in most cases.

We have finished a lot of our gift purchasing but there is always a few leftovers that need attention.

With the absence of little ones around our house gifts take on a different dimension.

But we still have a few tots that we give to and we try to keep up with what is popular -- that doesn't always happen.

Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets and Tinker Toys are not so much in vogue these days -- but I sure do remember the distinctive aroma of a brand new set of Tinker Toys . . .

And these days between the holidays are very much used for "bonding" with family and of course snacking with family:

The Zits comic says it all -- except I would be the one going for the genealogy session and be torn because I enjoy all the activities listed -- I'd have to figure out how to achieve both.

And with just 14 days left, it is important to remember who your friends are . . .

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

Sunday, December 4, 2016

♪ The Beat Goes On . . . ♪

And so does the decorating . . . so-to-speak. We have a wreath up (thank you Damian) and it is starting to look like Christmas. Christmas is 3 weeks from today -- amazing. We are starting to listen more to Christmas music around the house using Echo and Echo Dots.

It is that time when we have to decide the extent to which we'll go in decorating the house for the holidays. We'll do some things but gone are the days of the "huge" tree and all -- we're older . . .

One of these adorns our front deck and we have an additional one that is residing in the garage at the moment waiting to come out for it's once-a-year appearance. (it plugs in)

Besides decorating, what did we do this week. I listened to a very interesting webinar and it got me trying different approaches to the idea of multi-media story telling. I'm hoping that it will inspire me to "get out of the box" and I was certainly inspired by the presentation:

The above details the webinar that I watched on Wednesday and it is still "free to watch" at Legacy Family Tree for the next few days.

The "Upcoming Live Webinars" are the remaining webinars for the year 2016 -- there also could be some additional pre-recorded webinars that would be added as well. I find these webinars to be very well done and inspiring.

What would the holidays be without music -- pretty grim. One of the groups that we found really fun to watch and listen to is "Straight No Chaser" and especially their "Christmas Can-Can".

I hope that I have succeeded in adding the link to YouTube that you can click and hear:

At any rate, it is a great way to get into the spirit:

The group has a variety of songs for the holidays and
 is a great addition to our library!

This week I have really enjoyed the benefits of our massaging
 lounge chair. At first it was a bit almost painful, but not so any more.
 I guess I've adapted. Yesterday for example I spent an hour "relaxing" in 
the chair and fell sound asleep waking
 up to having Dino licking one of my hands to wake me.

Gail has enjoyed the therapeutic benefits as well,
 but not for the length of time that I do. Yesterday
I almost had a hard time walking after getting
 out of the chair . . . so a word of caution, I guess.

And last but not least I'm presenting (actually representing)
 a bit of humor. I originally posted this
back in April 3, 2016 ( you can do a search at the top of this post)
 but to me it is one of the best
cartoons representing the "way it is" in genealogy.

The version I had posted was a poor black and white version --
 thanks to my second cousin Melissa
for sending this great colorized version to me.

I won't follow Einstein's move to general relativity for obvious reasons
 but will "stick it out" dealing with 
the cousin relativity charts for now . . .
 ( I just accept the charts and do not try to really figure them out)

That's a bit of our week. We still have one
 more bit of turkey leftovers and then it is on to new.

See you all "in a few" !