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Saturday, February 25, 2017


We record several news programs every day, and then wind up erasing them all to make room to record the next day's news programs . . . we don't watch all of the shows, but pick and choose to include a variety. Lately though almost all the news is surrounding the events in Washington.

And of course we all are included in the latest "twittering". I have sent out a few tweets over the years, but nothing to compare with the volume and content of today's tweets.

Actually lately the news programs are making the weather reports look more appealing even though those reports can get so repetitive and share way too much information.

And speaking of the weather:

We are glad that right now we live in Northern California and not near someplace like pictured to the right.

I do remember those years though and shutter to think about having to deal with those conditions.

When you are a kid and in school, it is not too bad because usually that kind of weather means -- no school today . . . but the parents.

But we do have weather related horror stories right here in Healdsburg, the plaza to be specific.

We often sit in this park and in the summer enjoy the shade of the many mature large trees.

There is now one less tree there and fortunately it collapsed they think in the middle of the night.

It will make us think more about those trees when we do sit near them this coming year. It is hard to imagine that a tree that appears so sturdy would just topple over . . .

We have taken advantage of the cold and rainy weather to enjoy comfort food:

Recently we made a large pot of chicken barley soup -- so good. While there was "no soup for you" there was plenty for us.

Soup is fun to make and certainly enjoyable to eat along with some biscuits or crackers.

We also made and enjoyed a large meatloaf this week and it served us well for three dinners . . . "no meatloaf for you either".

I did of course work on family history this week. I attended a webinar about DNA and how to discover missing folks from the tree via DNA.

DNA to me is often way more complex than I can deal with. I have received many many matches from the three services that I have tested with -- the trick is to then figure out how those matches relate to me.

Some matches I have been able to determine, but the majority of them I have no idea how they relate to me and it is a very intricate
process to prove the relationship.

Everyone is hoping that as the DNA process is perfected, that the identification of relationships will follow. Ancestry DNA has provided some relationships with the matches that they report, and that is helpful.

In Ancestry, the Hiles tree currently has just shy of 15,000 folks.

In the coming year I plan to focus on just the closest relatives and would like to be sure that the details for their lives are as complete as possible.

Sometimes, it is like photographs. I might assume that everyone knows everyone else like I do.

So, as I take the Write Stuff II class, I'll be working on telling that story -- or part of it anyway.

It seems that memory keeps reminding me of tales that have been dormant for awhile.

I have to learn how to piece them together so I can share them with others or just for my own satisfaction.

Actually I have a big missing piece of the puzzle -- I don't know (yet) where the Hiles originated. There are so many theories.

I do though, know where some of the other close relatives originated. It is what keeps driving me.

While bouncing around the Internet I did come across a recent photo (Google Earth) of my maternal grandparent's home in Chicago.

The middle house in the picture, where I spent so many memorable holidays, specifically Thanksgiving.

I can still remember so much about that house -- of course it loomed much larger in my mind than how it looks today, and also the condition of the house and grounds . . .

My grandfather, Dayton Bumgardner, kept the front lawn spotless and perfectly groomed. The grass was the same grass as used in golf greens (creeping bent) and I can still see Grandpa on his haunches using the hose to remove any debris and leaves from ruining the appearance. A little different in today's photo.

And then around the side was the "Koi Pond". The fish were kept all year round and in the winter months they lived in the laundry sinks in the basement. I loved looking at them in either location and was always fascinated with them.

I could go on and on, but will wait for another post or another vehicle to share those memories.

And lastly:

Who will be receiving Oscars in Sunday's event. It goes without saying, we have seen NONE of the movies nominated.

But maybe we will see one or two. From the trailers that we see on TV there are some that I'm sure that we'd enjoy.

I have wondered where the name "Oscar" came from. I remember that in one of my school pictures that, as usual, I did not feel like smiling on command, so the photographer called me "Oscar" and I smiled big-time.

Well that is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beautiful Outside -- Today

Today is gorgeous outside, clear, sunny, bright and balmy. But tomorrow is supposed to be another story again. The prediction is three or four days of storms next week. So we are just going to enjoy the moment.

Monday, happens to be Presidents Day, the 20th of February. We celebrate traditionally George Washington's Birthday (22nd) and also Abraham Lincoln's birthday (12th).

Additionally, Presidents Day can be a celebration of any of the people who have been the president of the United States.

It is a nice holiday requiring no gifting or the sending of cards or anything. A chance to pause and think about those presidents.

February 20th happens also to be my mother's birthday or what
would have been her 105th birthday.

She is pictured off to the right in about 1930 when she was about eighteen or nineteen years old.

I believe that at the time of the picture she was in nurses training in Chicago and as yet unmarried.

I will be writing more of her story in coming posts.

Speaking of writing, I finished up the first session of Genealogy Intensive -- The Write Stuff, earlier this week.

I will be starting Genealogy Intensive -- The Write Stuff II,  this week and look forward to that.

There will be a mix of students in The Write Stuff II in that some from the class that I just finished will be attending and then some from earlier classes will be joining as well.

It is a whole new experience for me as I have not taken classes for some time and I have never used social media (Facebook) as much either to attend class and to exchange material.

I already have shared some peeks at my homework from the first session and I plan to do the same from this session.  One thing that I have learned is that I need to make sure that I have all the required facts together before writing. I have discovered in the middle of writing something that I did not have all the information that was needed and I had to go searching for it . . .

Some things coming up to look forward to:

First there is the return of "Who Do You Think You Are?". This is one of my favorite genealogy shows.

This season there will be at least eight celebrities who will have their genealogical facts shared with them and us viewers.

I am always amazed at the things that are disclosed and would love to be on the receiving end of that kind of material.

So, on March 5, 2017 look for this show on channel TLC.

And then:

It hardly seems possible being that it is only mid-February, but MLB spring training has started.

Off to the left are the teams and the locations of their spring training camps.

We try to watch as many of the SF Giant's games throughout the season and we are planning on that this year as well.

We are fortunate in that I believe every Giant's game is televised including their pre-season games.
Already we are hearing of the changes being made to the roster. Some we approve of and some we are disappointed with -- but that is the business of MLB.

And lastly -- the one constant so far in my daily routine -- genealogy:

I have to say that I relate often with the events described in "Pickles" and the cast of Earl, Opal, Nelson and the others. I've been studying "Jeannie" for some time now and no one is the wiser . . .

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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Flag's Out / Pool's Glassy

That can mean only one thing -- it isn't raining. It rained heavily all week and thank goodness we do not live "in the hills" or under the umbrella of the many oaks of our previous home . . .

It is supposed to be sunny and dry for the next several days with rain coming later in the week. The grass was cut yesterday and going outside the fragrance of freshly cut grass hit me and flooded my mind with all sorts of memories.

We are flying the flag today for the first time in about a week. Throughout the neighborhood there are numerous flags making for a nice display.

Last Sunday we watched one of the most lack luster Super Bowl games ever -- until the last part of the 4th quarter!

The Patriots came from behind, way behind to put the game into "OT". The first time ever for a Super Bowl game.

Needless to say, the Patriots won the game with the Falcons scratching their collective heads. One good thing for the Falcons Offensive Coordinator, Kyle Stranahan, he got a new job as the head coach of the San Francisco Forty-Niners.

We'll see if this 4th head coach in as many years is a good thing for the Niners, time will tell.

So 2017 is done for the NFL and next year's Super Bowl is scheduled for 4 Feb 2018 in Minnesota.

Another "done deal" is Roots Tech for this year.

I still have to go over some (all) of the recorded presentations and the reports are that the event was great.

Every year I think that maybe "next" year will be the year that I make it back to Salt Lake City and to rootstech . . .

For now, I'll make do with watching the recorded videos and the online discussions of the event.

The instructors for the class that I'm taking attended the event and are winging their way back home as I write this.

And speaking of the class, "Genealogy Intensive, The Write Stuff" we will wrap up this session next week with an online get-together via Facebook and "Go To Training".

I have written about things and stories that I recall from the many that my mother told to me over the years.

This week, I wrote about a period of time before my parents were married. My mother had recently graduated from Lake View High School (1929) and for this time period, she was in nursing school.

My father at the time was a soldier stationed at Fort Sheridan and was attached to the 14th Cavalry Unit there.

Even though Fort Sheridan is not that far from where my mother lived with her parents and siblings in the Logan Square area of Chicago, they communicated via letter frequently. And they apparently saw each other maybe on the weekends when possible.

My mother always had a lot of friends and was always doing or going somewhere with one of them. On one occasion, she and a girl friend -- for whatever reason, just a lark -- decided to visit a fortune teller.

The fortune teller began with my mother and related many fairly obvious things to her and then she stated that she knew that my mother was corresponding with some one by letter. She then said that someone was intercepting those letters before the intended person (my father) received them and of course reading them. My mother just put all the information given to her from the fortune teller in the back of her mind and probably dismissed most of it.

Then it was her friend's turn and the fortune teller told her many obvious things as well. But she then added a last bit of information -- she told my mother's friend that she could see a piece of furniture that she had in her bedroom, a dresser that had been left to her from a grandmother who had passed away. And she ended the session telling her that her grandmother on one evening would "appear" next to the dresser.

Both young ladies (18 or 19 years of age) enjoyed the visit and went about their everyday life. A short time later my mother was either visiting my father in person or communicating again by letter when my father asked my mother to put "sealing wax" on any future letters sent to him as he suspected they were being opened and read before he received them.

There actually was the possibility that another soldier -- who had been writing back and forth to my mother -- could be the culprit. But we do not know that for sure. At any rate, my mother thought back to what the fortune teller had told her and was taken aback a bit. My father had no knowledge of the fortune teller and was just stating the facts as he knew them.

Subsequently, my mother shared the story with the friend that had accompanied her to see the fortune teller. The friend was visibly struck with the news. She immediately went home and had the dresser removed ( and maybe destroyed) from her bedroom and was taking no chances that during some night her grandmother would appear next to it . . .

My mother loved telling stories (just ask my older brother) like the one above -- and I believe that it was factual. I for one have never visited a fortune teller and have no plans to do so . . . I have a few others to relate at a future time.

And so how else did I spend my time this week:

The dreaded search for the missing pieces for the income tax puzzle.

We receive the pieces in so many different ways that it takes forever to locate all of them.

Some documents are sent by email -- one of three different emails. Some come by the physical mail.

Some are obscured because they are automatically either paid or received via banking accounts (but which one) and others are handled by financial advisor accounts -- it is just a nightmare. So I do a little at a time.

The actual preparing of the tax forms is quite simple once you have the puzzle pieces to enter into them. It will be very interesting to see how taxes will be simplified -- I hope it is not by eliminating certain deductions . . .

And as far as the "teach your children about tax" by eating 30% of their ice cream -- not a bad idea.
A thought about children or dependents entered on a tax form -- it was not always the law that a dependent have a social security number (like now) and once the law was passed the number of dependents dropped by a large number.

And finally -- next week -- Tuesday, Valentine's Day:

I remember in elementary school that we gave Valentines to every child in our class and hopefully received one from every child as well. Is that still practiced today . . .

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Eve of SuperBowl & RootsTech

There was (and is) a lot of rain this week. Going out to get the mail, paper and/or trash cans required timing. We'd look outside and hope for a break and when we got one we'd complete the task. Sometimes we didn't quite make it and suffered the consequences . . . but no one is complaining here in Northern California.

The weather allowed me more time to work on the trees -- family trees i.e. The week has flown by and with little in the news -- NOT -- okay lots in the news . . .

The above are the subjects of recent work. And throughout the coming weeks I'll be focusing on the top row for writing material and of course including some from the other rows as well.

The focus of today and tomorrow though are on the 51st Super Bowl or "Super Bowl LI" as the news calls it:

It is nice to hear that George H W Bush and Barbara will be attending the game as they had been hoping to do. Which team will they be rooting for or for that matter. which team will we be rooting for . . . we'll root for the team that plays the best, I suspect.

And we'll do it from the low cost seats at our convenience. If we were going to the game, and driving, the financial impact range is printed above. How could an average working family afford to attend a game at those prices . . .

We forgot to buy avocados this week and I suspect that it is too late to do so today -- so we'll have a bowl of buttered popcorn. And we might have a Digiorno if we like -- otherwise burger & fries . . .

We just hope that the game is a good one, and that we don't have to listen to anything politically motivated either from players or half-time entertainers. Let us enjoy the day and the game. And rejoice in the savings from watching at home.

Of course earlier this week we celebrated "Woodchuck Day" or is more commonly known, "Groundhog Day".

Apparently there will be 6 more cords of wood figured at a cord per each of the remaining 6 weeks of winter. That's how much wood a woodchuck should chuck . . .

Since when did we get our predictions from large furry rodents. Maybe they can be used to make other predictions.

But for me, it does not matter if there are 6 more or no more weeks of winter. We just deal with it, granted we don't usually have to shovel anything or freeze our selves here.

This class is going well and is just how I wanted to start the new year -- with a change of pace and outlook.

It has gotten me a bit "out of the box" in that it uses social media (Facebook) more than I was used to. The class members can compare notes and make comments on the other students' writing and that is helpful. I've signed up for the next series of lessons in The Write Stuff II.

This week, in my assignment I again drew on childhood memories for my material.

Growing up, sometimes, if we were lucky, we as a family would go on rides on a Sunday afternoon.

We would usually head west -- not that far west, but to drive the back-roads  (there wasn't really any other kinds) and tour through places like Batavia, Aurora or Elgin and like that.

Our parents would ooh and ahh over houses and farms and cities as we drove around them and in them. My siblings and I would hear all that and still find other ways to amuse ourselves like counting certain things.

Usually after about a couple of hours we would head towards home, and most of the times I remember that we would stop at a "Prince Castle". I think these were only in northern Illinois, but they were the forerunner of places like McDonalds.

We usually got ice cream cones and if we were relatively close to home, we might bring home some hand packed ice cream for later. When we got home, it was usually my father who made a bee-line to the house (he only had one kidney) and we only had one bathroom . . .

Looking forward to this week -- "RootsTech". Wednesday the 8th through Saturday the 11th.I would love to attend, but I am glad that I can see and hear some of the many events via streaming.

Anyone or anything that is Genealogy related will be in attendance. It is held in Salt Lake City, a city that I have been to many times in previous years for work -- mostly. There are always a variety of speakers and classes and sometimes major announcements -- we'll see how this year goes.

And the dreaded Tax Season is in full swing:

 A few years ago, and for ten seasons, I participated in tax season as a "tax pro" as did Gail for 32 seasons.  Now we join the ranks of those who have to just "do" our taxes without the benefit of fresh schooling and knowledge from attending tax classes.

This year though we do get three extra days to file -- that's a break due to the fact that the 15th of April is on Saturday which would move the date to Monday, but that is a holiday in D.C. so taxes are due on Tuesday the 18th . . . let's find more holidays.

So, we have started doing the taxes as it looks like we have received most of our documents and can begin entering the data. Will this be the year of tax-reform, I think we have to be careful what we wish for though.

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