My hometown as seen from the Bay

My hometown as seen from the Bay

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bronson notes

Yesterday, while working on my jigsaw puzzle and researching on ancestry, I had a movie from 1968 running called 'Once upon a time in the west'.  Charles Bronson has always been a favorite so I decided to go look up some info on him.  I knew he had lived for a time in the area of western Pennsylvania where my mother and half sisters now reside.  IMDB had these facts:
His parents were from Lithuania, where his father was a coal miner, and he grew up in a western Pennsylvania coal-mining town. Growing up without much money for newer clothes, as a boy he often wore his older sister's hand-me-downs. He was the 11th of 15 kids and didn’t learn to speak English until he was a teenager. Until then, he spoke Lithuanian and Russian.

His father died when he was 10, and at 16 he followed his brothers into the mines to support the family. He was paid $1 per ton of coal and volunteered for perilous jobs because the pay was better.
Like all the men in his family he worked in the mines, but hated it and used a variety of means to escape it including the military and, eventually, acting.
As a boy working in the mines, he was caught in a cave-in and almost died before he was finally rescued. Ever since that time he had had a deathly fear of enclosed spaces.
His expertise with tunneling and working underground helped when making The Great Escape (1963) in the role of "Tunnel King" Velinski. However, even though the "tunnel" he was working in was a cutaway set, he could only stay in it for a few minutes at a time before he had to get up and leave.

He was drafted into the army in 1943 and assigned to the Air Corps. At first he was a truck driver, but was later trained as a bomber tail gunner and assigned to a B-29. He flew 25 missions and received, among other decorations, a Purple Heart for wounds incurred in battle.

In 1954 on the Mexican set of Vera Cruz Charles and Ernest Borgnine--who were playing American gunfighters involved in the Mexican fight against the French--had some spare time on their hands and decided to go to a nearby town for cigarettes. They saddled up in costume, sidearms and all, and began riding to town. On the way they were spotted by a truck full of Mexican "federales"--national police--who mistook them for bandits and held them at gunpoint until their identities could be verified.
Called West Windsor, Vermont his home for more than three decades (Bronson Farm),
Spoke fluent Russian, Lithuanian and Greek.

He was by all accounts a very quiet and introspective collaborator, often sitting in a corner for much of a shoot and listening to a director's instructions and not saying a word until cameras were rolling. People commented on how surprised they were to discover how thoroughly and completely prepared Bronson was when he came to work, as it didn't seem to fit his "laid-back" image.

He left an estate worth $48 million including an $8 million house in Malibu as well as a $4.8 million beach house and a ranch in Vermont.  He also owned homes in Europe, including Lithuania and Greece.
He had hip replacement surgery in August 1998.
He was very active in raising funds for the John Wayne Cancer Institute.
Dick Van Dyke received a lemon cake every Christmas from Bronson, who lived nearby in Malibu for 16 years.

In the '90s a lady whom he'd never met left him her estate worth well over a million dollars. She was a big fan of his. Her family sued and he ended up settling with them out of court.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2000 after suffering ill health for the previous two years.

                                                                      the mines
Charles in 1968

It's going to be another day of leisure for me, I think.  Just the way I like it.  I did force myself to get out and walk a little yesterday but the area I chose was too chilly so I cut it short after taking a few pictures.  Not pleased with the zoom feature on my new camera as I don't think it takes good photos.  I'm hoping it's just that I didn't use the correct setting. I'll have to play around with it some more. Here's a few I took down at Ediz Spit.

 liked that someone had hung bird feeders from these two trees that sit right along the beach front

                                                                    stupid sign

                 My house sits a few miles behind these smoke stacks up on the hill

 this is where you can enter the beach but it's so full of rocks, you take the chance of twisting your ankle.  Makes me wish we had a 'North Beach' here in PA

                 foggy haze over PA across the bay. Not even worth taking a picture of really

Well, I think I'll go over to Google Earth and do some zooming around. I need to figure out how the controls work first, though, as I know you're able to do a lot more than what I usually do.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Last week of January

Life sometimes moves along pretty swiftly.   Other times it seems to crawl.  I think the older you get, the faster the speed.  Isn't that profound?  Ha!

I've been up for 3 hours and all the little chores I had listed are completed.  Gonna' run half a dozen errands this morning and I'm even thinking of driving out to the beach to get some walking in.  I may wait a while, though, as it's foggy and kind of nippy at the moment.  And I may or may not do the beach but opt instead for the road that runs alongside it.  It's a fairly nice walking area frequented by bicycle riders, runners, and walkers.  It's been a while since I got out there with my walking stick so it will be interesting to see how far I can go.

Since I've done nothing outside of the usual household chores and hobbies, I thought maybe I would write some tips on using your garbage disposal.  Boring?  Perhaps, but I needed to look stuff up on using mine and the easiest way for me to remember what I've read is to write it out.  So, here we go....

Every now and again (after washing dishes), squirt some liquid detergent into your disposal and run it for a minute with cold water running in.  Always use cold water in your disposal; never hot.

Don't cram your disposal with food but put in pieces a little at a time.  Put in egg shells, small chicken and fish bones and small fruit pits. Don't put in onion peels, celery, or corn husks. Probably not a good idea to dispose of potato peels either.

Run cold water for at least 15 seconds AFTER turning off the disposal.

Don't put bleach in your disposal.  No pasta, rice, or coffee grounds either

Once a month, put in a couple ice cubes and allow them to sharpen the blades. Keep water running, of course. An added note: freeze white vinegar in an ice cube tray and use a couple of those.

Every other month, throw in a small orange or lemon to help odors. You can also pour some baking soda into your disposal; let it sit for several hours before running the disposal with cold water.

And here's a couple pictures from a senior calendar depicting favorite movies. Can you guess what they are?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Early Saturday Morning

Got up at 6 a.m. partly because my head was stuffed up warning me a headache was close; my mouth was dry; my dreams were disturbing; and my bladder was full.  Yeah, a great way to start the day.  But oh well, at least I'm starting!  Fixed a cup of coffee and turned on the cool air humidifier, who I've named Ole Blue.
Since I had two miserable days of stuffy head with runny nose, I've decided to keep Ole Blue up and running.  Especially when I have to turn the heat on.  Seems kind of okay in here today temperature-wise so I'm hoping I can keep the heat off or at least manage by wearing a sweater.

Yesterday I pulled out my rinky dink tape player (that I bought at a thrift store) so I could try again to practice getting my old cassette music onto my computer so I could burn them to a CD.  I know the sound quality on tapes isn't as good as on regular vinyl and that could be part of the problem I'm having as far as sound quality goes.  Or it could be my old tape player is just too worn out to be of much use.  Problem is, you have to use a tape player with the special outlets in the back for the hookup and not all tape players have those.

I'm using this program called Audacity and I have figured it out enough to get the music onto my computer BUT....there are sound settings with language terminology over my head so I'm not having a lot of success fine tuning the song.  A few years back, I transferred a couple hundred of my record albums to my computer with this program and it worked just dandy.  The only thing I had to do with click the "normalize" button.  This time, though, I'm at a loss and I get too frustrated if I have to spend a lot of time on it.  Kind of like untangling cords. Patience isn't my strong suit sometimes.
I haven't decided, for sure, how I'm going to spend my day today.  I've got a fun jigsaw puzzle set up on the card table so that will get some of my attention.  I've also got a stack of books by my recliner.  I read over a hundred pages of 'The ladies of the club' but I just couldn't get into it so I took it back to the library and bought another for a quarter in the lobby.

I started reading it in the car while I was waiting for Maddie to finish up with their basketball team picture taking at the gym. Called 'Father Melancholy's daughter', by Gail Godwin. I like books that you can start reading right away and be interested in.  If I have to go past page 100 and I'm still struggling, I set it aside and move on.  I've got a Stephen King book of short stories I'm working on at too. At least with King, it's easy reading and you're into it from the first paragraph on.  I also found a book on my shelves by Phillip Margolin called 'The Associate' so here I go again...reading several books at the same time.  This is one of the reasons I have trouble finishing a book but it's what I do.

I've had problems settling in on my tv watching with Netflix and Amazon Prime.  Can't seem to get interested in anything.  And I've tried weird stuff like Dracula and Frankenstein along with Airplane and The Reader.  I decided to give 'The Americans' another chance and I think it's taking this time as I'm up to episode 3 or 4 and looking forward to the next chapter.

I had to turn my background sound of the tv off early this morning as those local news shows out of Seattle make me want to throw a pot at the screen.  So sick of cutesy blonds coyingly giggling over videos or pretty boy newscasters laughing it up over YouTube videos about kids or animals.  Yesterday the Today Show gang played a game that Ellen had going on her show.  Stupid with a capital S!  Thank God for Pandora Channel on  my Roku.  I've got the Chuck Berry channel tuned in now with means I get music from that whole era.  Ray Charles is singing 'What'd I say' at the moment and I'm glad I can still appreciate good music!

Two interesting facts I found online recently. (at least interesting to me...)

Though Leave It to Beaver ended in 1963, it appeared so frequently in syndication that Billingsley had difficulty escaping her image as the sweet 1950s matron. With trouble getting other roles, she took time out of her career to travel the world. Her second wind came when producers took comedic advantage of her wholesome persona to cast her as a jive-talking passenger in Airplane! the 1982 hit film.

Another note:

Since 1967, there have only been three albums that have truly affected the culture, and that's the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper, Saturday Night Fever and Michael Jackson's Thriller.
My opinion:  I don't know who decided this about the three albums but I'd say there are a whole lot of other albums that deserve to be in this category.

On the Three Stooges (who I never enjoyed all that much but my dad loved them!)

Moe (the one on the right) was the business-minded one of the group. He knew that Curly liked to spend his money on partying and women, and Larry liked to spend his at the racetrack. So, he drew up an agreement where Larry and Curly turned over a certain percentage of their salaries to him. He, in turn, invested it for them. The result was that, while Larry and Curly were not as wealthy as Moe was (he invested far more of his own money and was quite well off), he ensured that their spendthrift habits did not result in their being broke when their careers ended.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Things you can find online

Even if I decide  to do only a little research on, I can lose myself for hours. My various family files have been so scattered that I've made a resolution to get them  in order so they make sense.  It's always been hard for me to keep legible notes.  My handwriting skills are especially lacking. Whenever I stand over my daughter Mary's shoulder when she's writing out instructions for me on computer techniques, I am amazed at how pretty her penmanship is.  I'm always admiring other peoples' penmanship and wishing I could do better.

One of my biggest challenges regarding the various families I'm working on is my g. grandmother's family on my dad's side.  The Downs were from Delaware but I suspect my g. grandmother was left an orphan and came with relatives to the midwest.  I work on this mystery for days until I'm so frustrated, I have to put it away and move on to somebody else.

My daughter recently asked me if I knew if we were related to anybody famous.  I told her that ancestry has a special "who am I related to?" section where they tell you who some of your long lost relatives are according to whatever family data you've entered into their program.  Some of the people on my list include:  Davy Crockett, (7th cousin); James Stewart (10th cousin); Zachary Taylor (5th cousin, 1 time removed); First lady Angelica VanBuren (6th cousin,1 time removed); Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, John F Kennedy, Cary Grant, Freddie Prinze, Ruby Dee, Marlon Brando, outlaw Sam Bass, robber Clyde Barrow, Butch Cassidy, Doc Holliday, John Steinbeck, William Woodsworth, Elizabeth Browning, Ray Bradbury, Willa Cather, Robert Penn Warren, William Faulkner, and hockey player Maurice Rocket Richards.  I don't know how true all this is but I choose to believe it's entirely possible.

The three-ring binder on my mother has various families I want to work on.  Am I repeating myself?  Probably. But that's okay. You can skim over the boring parts.  Because I was able to find out who her biological family was (she was adopted back in the 20's), I've got notes on both those sides of the family --the Haskells and the Stevens.  I also have a file on her adoptive family, The Nisbets and the Blanchards.

My mother married three times so I thought it might be interesting to look over the family stats on those two guys. I met the third husband twice when I was an adult but I don't remember the second husband except remembering I resented his presence in our house.

Leo Grady was a soldier at Fort Worden in the 1950's and he was a year younger than my mom.  My mother's divorce from my dad became final in June of 1952. On July 5th, Leo and my mother applied for a marriage license and finally tied the knot with justice of the peace Coulter on Irondale Road  on August 22.  Us four kids sat in the car outside.

They eventually divorced. Even as a kid, I could have called that one. I didn't find much information on Leo. Even his obit didn't discuss what he did for a living or enjoyed doing on his days off.  Some obits are written with care and are a delight to read. Other times they're just a list of survivors.  I do know that Leo was an alcoholic so perhaps he didn't accomplish much to write home about. I'll never know, and I don't really have all that much interest in looking further.  I do know his father was a coal miner.

Stanley Kwashnik was my mother's third husband. I guess you could call Leo and Stan my step-dads but I never really considered them as such.  I don't even remember what Leo looked like but I did meet Stan twice in my adult life when I visited my mother in Pennsylvania in 1977 and 2003.
Stan's father was born in Austria and his mother was born in Poland. The 1930 census showed Stan's dad (named Walter but he went by Blaze or Blazen) was working as a coal miner.  The house they lived in was the same one I slept at when I visited my mom.  I remember all her floors were slanted and she said it was because the old coal mines of the past  had collapsed the ground underneath, causing house foundations to become unstable.  There were 13 people living in that house in 1930 and except for Blaze who worked the mines, the only other person employed was a sister of Stan's who was a cigar maker. Two of the kids living there were step-children of Blaze's so his wife, Eleanor, must have been married before.  The father of these two children was listed as Russian.

Ten years later in the  1940 census, Blaze had passed away and Stan was living with his widowed mother and 8 other relatives. By this time, two men of the house were coal miners supporting the rest of the family.  They were married to two of Stan's sisters. If you want to see the house, go to Google maps and type in 341 Hillside Ave, Edwardsville, PA.  Veer the mouse to the right and you'll see the house with 341 on it.  It's bigger than it looks but I'm sure having 13 people in it made for close quarters.

                                                           Stanley & Alice in the 1990's

Both of these husbands of my mother died at age 77 and within one year of each other. Stan was listed as working in the mines, at a construction company, and for a restaurant.

Tomorrow I may look over my Haskell notes again and see what I can find on my biological grandfather. I do know he lived to be 95 and was a past member of the Clark County Sheriff's Posse.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Diary Notes

Tomorrow marks the 42nd birthday of my youngest child.  I went back to look at some of my diary notes for that period...

1-1-1973   Had Janie and Bill for dinner. We played Password afterwards.
1-4     It snowed tonight. Have been married nine years. A little worried
           about traveling to the hospital in  the snow. Doctor thinks I’ll go another week.
1-9     I expected the baby today. Had back pain but no such luck.
1-14   Had a dream I had a girl
1-19   Rosemary and Tony came over at 11 pm to spend the night and John took me to the hospital at midnight. I’d been having pains for 12 hours but wasn’t sure if it was the real thing.
1-20-1973   Jennifer Lynn born at 3:10 Evergreen Hospital. Didn’t have a caudal as the nurses weren’t paying attention to details. I had two hours of hard labor.
1-21    I’m sick with the flu and can’t have visitors. Janie took the girls and Rosemary is watching                   Joey.
1-31    Jennifer slept through the night but I know that won’t happen often
2-2      Jennifer seems to be having problems keeping her formula down so think I’ll change it.
2-10    Jenni had cereal.

It's always interesting to reread old diary notes.  Sometimes they make me laugh but sometimes they cause me to recall the mistakes I made along the way.  

Jenni was born at Overlake Hospital in Kirkland and six months later, we moved to Port Townsend. Have never regretted that move. After she graduated high school in 1991, she moved to Port Angeles to attend Peninsula College.  Right around her 19th birthday (I was divorced and living in Hadlock then), I recorded that she was coming to dinner and bringing her new boyfriend, Wayne.


7-18-2000 -  Jenni gave birth to twins.  Hunter Edward and Madelyn Joyce were born at 7:38 and                             7:44 a.m.

 And 14 years after that......


Sunday, January 18, 2015

That was one Super Game!

Talk about exciting! Wow!

I made a quick run over to Jenni's to give her her birthday card. Took a picture of her,and another of Wayne and Hunter but they all came out blurry. Not sure what I'm doing wrong but better I find out now than later.  I'll play with the camera again tomorrow.

Anyhow, here's the few that did turn out.

                                   A jigsaw puzzle that Hunter did in record time.
                                    Sammy, who is always excited to see me.
                                        Hunter's truck that he works on all the time.
                  Jenni's scrapbook, card-making, stamping area.  She has a lot of supplies.
                                           New mixer that Jenni got for her birthday.

And football pictures as seen on my tv and Facebook....

Was nice to see ole Steve Largent again.  Saw Dave Krieg on one of the local news shows a few nights back.

                                                                    Jake with "aunt" Candy
                                                      The Adelma Beach group

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Day Before the Game

It's 9 a.m. and the weatherman says to expect rain the next few days.  I decided to go outside and transplant my Christmas cactus that has looked sickly.  Plus the pot is ugly.  Rite Aid was having a 50% sale on pots so I picked up one to lift my spirits.  Pictures didn't come out that well so I still have some reading to do on using my new camera.

I used fresh dirt and watered with fertilizer so I'm hoping the thing perks up.  Speaking of camera settings, I love the cartoon feature and went outside and inside the house to take more. I obviously have time on my hands today.

I've got Castaway with Tom Hanks playing on Netflix right now. It's one of those movies I never tire of watching -- like Jaws, Poseidon Adventure, Godfather, Steel Magnolias, Lonesome Dove, American Graffiti, Grease, and Anne of Green Gables.

I don't have anything specific on my agenda today outside of researching a bit on, reading, and working on a writing project.  Washing machine is running and kitchen's been swept so I plan on doing fun things today as I await the football game tomorrow that everyone is talking about.