Monday, September 25, 2017

Didn't See This Coming!! (Updated & Bumped)

Update: I had it in my head the the young woman at the rear-right in the picture of the kids was Grandma George. No. It has to be Florence because That. Is. A. Picture. Of. The. Kids! And that  is NOT Grandma George. Duh!

I chatted with Jane and Ed, after I managed to locate them on the north (dry) side of Huston where all is well with them. Jane mentioned that Richard has his family's Bible, and has mentioned an older brother as well. I still need to contact Richard.

Wilma and I had an e-mail exchange, she and her husband Earl are still living in the same house. Both of them are in their 80s. Jane and Ed are in their 70's as is Richard (and possibly his wife).

This is from an e-mail thread I had with my daughter Sunday. The simple backstory is, I have an account with, and I get their promotional emails from time to time.  Last week, they were offering free access to employment records (census pages). Since I'd poked around there the last time they had a free trial, I didn't pay much attention to it, although I kept the email, and therefor the link. What  I found was startling, and prompted email to my daughter and family.

Email #1:
OK. Lazy Sunday AM, can't stand the insanity  that is the news, so I hopped on to Ancestry just for grins and giggles, since they have their free trial weekend going on.

Was looking to see if I could track down Martha's employment history, and the first record of hers that I found was the 1920 census. First thing I noticed was that Fred Hansen was listed. He was Grandma George's brother, Martha's uncle. (I recognized the names of her two aunts.)

To my utter surprise, the listing for Grandpa Rafe's family showed that Martha had an older sister! She was, according to the report, the first born of the six kids. She not listed on the 1930 census, and I have no farkin' clue about what happened to her.

I have no memory of mom ever mentioning her, so I assume that she passed on sometime in the 20's. She was listed on the 1910 census for Gramp's family. I took a swag at her birth year as 1906. I tried looking her up, but didn't find much. There is a Ancestry time line for herb that I can look at, but I have to sign up to do that.

I'm going to see if I can get in touch with my cousin Richard, to see of he knows anything.

Now, this is an interesting surprise.
Here's a screen cap of the relevant section of the census page:

I grew up with three uncles - Ralph, Han, and Clarence, and an aunt - Margaret, along with three cousins - Wilma, Richard, and Jane. I have an address for Richard ("The net is vast and infinite." Maj. Kusanagi), so I'm going to ping him.

Later that day, I called Jen, and, as noted below, we spent some time poking around on said web. The e-mail below followed:
Jen & I had a long chat yesterday, and part of it was spent banging on the interweb to track this down a bit more.

Mom's older sister was named Florence, born in 1906. (Martha was born 6 years later, in 1912.) She passed away in 1923, at the age of 17. We don't have any more information than that, other than she is buried at the cemetary in Albany, Il., which (is) a town on the Mississippi upriver from Moline.  Mom's dad and mom are buried there as well. I visited there in 1994, when I took a long weekend from Detroit to go over to Moline and Sterling to visit mom's younger brother and sister. (I have no recollection of seeing her grave.)

I guess I'll ping my cousin Richard, and try to locate my cousin Jane as well, to see if they remember their parent mentioning Florence at all.
So far, no luck locating Jane. Her husband is a retired marine, so I reached out to @treehuggingsis who is also a retired marine, for some guidance:

That's as far as I got about Jane yesterday. I'll give Facebook a try later.

I also poked around for vital records in Rock Island county, and the remembered that, unlike Los Angeles, many places keep vital records at the state level. I got a copy of the request for the State of Illinois, filled out what I knew, and sent it off to Jen, who was able to get more info out of Ancestry than I could, mostly dates which are needed on the form. When she populates that info and returns the form to me, I'll print it out and send it off.

Finally, the only photo I have of the family as kids is this one:

Grandma (back row, right), and five kids. Now I know that  this was taken after Florence passed away, so no no earlier than mid-1923.   

The six George kids, back row, L => R, Ralph ('Doc'), Hans, and Florence. Front row L =>; R, Clarence ('Tuffy'), Margaret, and Martha. From my conversation with Jen, this had to have been taken before Florence passed on in July, 1923.

What a surprise.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Falling Man, The Story

Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.
Go, read the whole thing: 


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Buy A Nun A Book Day ( Bumped Yet Again!) approaching once again - September 17.  Once again, I will be sending books to the good Holy Names Sisters who taught me in my callow youth.

It's a nice way to say "Thanks"!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pets For Patriots Fundraiser (BUMPED!)

Update: I  originally posted this 6-26. I'm bumping it because the fund raiser starts today, and I'm asking the five of you who read this to donate in memory of Benny.

I will get busy spaming everyone a little later today to go to the site and donate!

I've been following Pets For Patriots for a while now, getting their daily email with updates and stories about pet (and veteran) rescues.

This was in today's mail:
So, I now have Bringing Loyalty Home page where you can, starting on July 11, make donations to the cause.  Check it out now, and contribute if you can.

Monday, July 10, 2017


I decided to let Benny go Saturday night. Here's the e-mail I sent to family and friends:

I'm writing to tell you that I had to let Benny go last night. He had stopped walking about three weeks ago, and our regular vet suspected that a disc issue was the cause, and put him on crate rest. He seemed to be doing OK, until Thursday, when he would no longer eat. He emphatically refused scrambled eggs yesterday AM, and started to sound like he was having breathing difficulty yesterday afternoon.

I took him to the Animal Emergency Center, where they did a pretty comprehensive set of tests and x-rays. They called back to tell me that one of his vertebrae was most likely cancerous, which was causing the paralysis. In addition, his kidneys and pancreas were both outside of normal limits, possibly a side effect of the cancer, or 'just' old age.

There was no good prognosis, so I made the decision to let him go. I held him in my lap while the injections were administered. He slipped away peacefully.

I had two and a half years of being blessed with that little clown. For such a little guy, he had a tremendous heart.

He is missed. 
It has not been a good year for the critters here. I've lost Suzu, Baxter, and now Benny in about a year.

Grif and the cats are doing well.

Me, not so much.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fathers' Day, 2017

I posted the first picture on Twitter last week, thinking it was Fathers' Day then. It is, as far as I know, the only picture of my dad with me:
I think we were getting ready for my baptism.

I want to introduce you to the man who was 'Dad' for me - Grampa George. At some point after the accident that took Dad, he and my Grandma moved to California to stay with us. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that Grandma's diagnosis of breast cancer may well have played a part in that choice too. I honestly do not know  what their motive truly were. All I know is that I am so grateful they were there.

Family photo, ca. 1954.  Grandma, me, mom, Gramps.

Rahe and Evah George, sometime in the 1930s.
Evah and Rafe, ca. 1954.

I have some flashes of recollection of train trips taken when I was three , four and five. One to see my Aunt Frances, so mom could get he to sign off on my adoption.

Two to Illinois, the second, in 1955, for Grandma's funeral. I can only speculate, but I have a suspicion that the trip in 1954 was to select and move some of Rafe and Evah's things (the china hutch I still have) to California.

Along with mom, Grandpa and Grandma George gave me a warm, strong and loving foundation on which to grow.

I miss them still.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Friday Garden, with Impending Doom!

Rain and sun have done wonders for the garden. Doom after the fold.

Establishing shot:


Potatoes and peppers:

Potatoes and onions and garlic:




Potato flower:



Blackberry, again:

Impending Doom:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Quick Note...

I picked up the new glasses on Sunday. The scales fell from my eyes, and I could see!

I suspect most of the problem was with the totally scratched lenses.

And, I  have an appointment with the opthamologist in August, for a consult about possible surgery.

The right eye, BTW, is doing fine. Slight tweak to the old prescription, nothing as catastrophic (my word) with what's going on with the left. I was watching the laptop reboot, and I noticed that  the row of dots Mint displays were reasonably clear for both eyes, with glasses. Without, the dots looked more like a row of half daisies. Actually, a pretty cool little pattern.

If I can duplicate it, I'll try and sketch it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Back Aches and Fuzziness...

...aka "Encroaching Decrepitude."

The back has become troublesome again, in a slightly different place since the surgery. Occasional sciatica, fairly constant ache. Discussed it w/ the doc, and we agreed that  a couple of pics were in order.

 Result? Some disk degeneration, nothing to do about it.

Eye exam Monday. Vision in left eye continues to deteriorate. (I refer to that as "crashing".) Going to see an opthamologist in a couple of months for a consult. Cause is most likely cataracts, but is it time for surgery? Everyone I know who has had it done is enthusiastically positive about their results.

Not really worried about the repair, but disheartened by the incontroveritble evidence of age and mortality.

The black Dog has even paid some visits, when I've not started the day with the appropriate medications. When I don't, and he visits, it takes a good chunk of the day from me before the meds kick in and he is persuaded to leave. I know how that sounds almost "victim-y". My training in practical Christian metaphysics informs me that "I am in control", but it seems not of the Dog.

I am getting 'pings' from the Universe lately, on seeking help, and on courage. I haven't gone looking for them, they have found me. Bob Owens' sudden and apparent suicide Monday has prompted posts on getting help or finding someone to talk with. Most interestingly, a co-worker recently shared the story of some of his troubles with me, and was supportive when I told him about my crashing eye.

Found at Madam Scherzo's

My own Introversion and the practical Christian metaphysics I have learned leave me hesitant to find and join a church. I occasionally noodle with the idea of showing up a the local Catholic establishment, hearing a Mass, and most importantly, listening to a sermon or two to get a sense if I could be comfortable talking with one of the priests. (That was one part of Lent that never happened. I also resumed drinking after about three weeks. I did stay off Twitter the whole time, so there's that.)

Since there's no neat denouement to this post, I guess it just stops, for now.

More, later.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Green Poodles, Create!

Green Poodle Creations

My dear friend and 'land lady' has been running a web business for the last few years, under the name "Green Poodle Creations"("GPC"). She has lately gotten a burr under her proverbial saddle, and has a) done some major re-vamping, b) added several new product lines.

GPC is the umbrella organization, hosting the GPC Blog, the GPC Boutique, and the GPC Cookbook, all of which are linked on the side columns here.

Her craft work is folksy and funky, and definitely one-of-a-kind. I had some plain paper lampshades on my Amazon wish list, and found two of these on my front porch one day:

Way cuter, and way better than plain paper! I hope she adds something like these to her collection, soon.

She also has several coffee cup/mug designs that I love, too:

Stages of Coffee
Stages of Coffee
Time Travel

All of this is "print on demand", meaning the mug (or t-shirt) is printed up when you order and pay for it.

Speaking of t-shirts...

Go visit, say "Hi", and tell 'em leelu sent you!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ain't technology great?

Lost my phone in one of the cars I drove yesterday at work.

Discovered something interesting just now - I can track, lock, erase, and ping it from Google.

It is currently southbound on I-81, near Mt Crawford, Va (+/- 5 meters), locked and ringing.

I put a message on the screen that says: "I was lost  at MAA on Monday".

There's also a call button on the lock screen, with a friend's phone number. I want it back because it contains the last pictures I took of Baxter.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Baxter and Friends, ca 2000

Most of last week was given to caring for Baxter as he was getting ready to go.He disappeared Sunday afternoon, and I didn't see him until I got home from work Monday evening. He had suddenly lost some more weight, as  well as the strength to climb up on the bed.

I don't know if one had to do with the other, but Griffin had gotten hold of him by the neck Saturday afternoon. Whatever the reason, he wasn't going out to eat and drink, so I sequestered him in a carry box, with food. He didn't eat, but did lick the gravy from the bowl. I moved him into the bathroom with food and water, which he proceeded to gulp mightily.

On Thursday, I fed him, and again he drank quite a bit of water. I went downstairs, and sat in my chair with him next to me. He went to sleep, and never woke again. I put him on the bed with me that night, and he was gone the next morning.

Baxter and Shin-Wa, ca 2000

What I miss the most is him hopping up on the bed, and perching on my hip as I go to sleep.

Bye, B'.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Empire Begins

Who knew it would all start in our very own space station, testing miniature T.I.E. fighters??

We're all gonna die.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Blog Stats

I don't often look at the statistics for my blogs, but the last few time I have, I've noticed that my traffic has increased considerably. I have no objection to this, mind you, but it puzzles me a bit.

Looking at the "All Time" stats overview, we have this:

You'll notice the two ginormous spikes in traffic, one last summer, and one starting around Thanksgiving.

I shan't bore you with the trend for the last month, but I do want to show you what's been happening on a weekly basis.

The site gets these regular spike, regular in both size and interval. And it looks like they take the weekends off.  Looking at the monthly stats, tings seem to be trending downwards. Whatever the cause, it has just about doubled my hit count since last summer, going from somewhere around 35k to almost 80k.

It's a mystery.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Best Super Bowl Commerical Ever!

Hyundai makes decent cars. I drive them often enough at work to know.

But what they did for the Super Bowl was outstanding:

Found at Gerard's

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

But That's a Good Thing!

So, we talk about a fair amount of random things as we are driving around the lot, looking for cars that need to be picked up. Somehow or another, we got onto the subject of vaccinations. One of the the guys' wife is a nurse, and he's worked in hospitals. He mentioned the vaccine given to kids for measles, mumps and rubella. A couple of us mentioned having one or two of those during our long-ago childhoods.

One of our resident millennials then asked, "What's mumps?"

We shook our heads and tried to explain.

Like many things in life, mumps is one of those "You had to be there" things.

(I ate a lot of tapioca pudding summer of 1962.)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Twiddling... (Updated)

You may have noticed a couple of small changes in the last few days. I've changed the background picture, removed the Hillary Hydra pic and caption, cleaned up a busted link, and changed the page width slightly.

That is all.

UPDATE: Not quite all - I fixed the Trump clock - I created it using Zulu (UTC) time, instead of East Coast US time, which is the TZ in which he was inaugurated.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

New Clock

...and the world hasn't ended.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Door. Ass. Bang! (Bumped. Because.) Updated 1/22

Don't Call Us. We'll Call You.

Can't be too soon.

Thanks to Stilton

NOTE: Removed the link to the clock. I noticed it was starting to go wonky. Besides, we have the other one above.