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Friday, December 31, 2010

2010's Most Popular Posts, Blogger's and Mine

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

OK, Barbara, who writes a great blog at Life From the Roots, just for you:

These are the top 5 most popular posts on Reflections, per the new stat keeper here at Blogger, noting this does not go back all the way to January 1, 2010.  Here they are in reverse order:

4.  Work Camping in Hurricane Country

3.  Golly I Hope They Aren't Reading

2.  My Sorta Techy Life, What I Do

And, the most popular post according to Blogger was:

I was a bit prolific this year, so far I have written 466 posts in 2010 (I did??  really??  GULP!)

And, truth be told, I have a number of posts that I am quite fond of, but, if I had to pick just one, and I am going to pick just one, my favorite of the year just has to be:

The Wedding Photos

And, this may be my most favorite photo of the year, from that post:


THE Trip, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

(This post is graphics heavy.  Because of serious, serious Internet issues, as in S-L-O-W, and S-L-O-W-E-R, this may be the last post this heavy in graphics for a while.  It took hours to complete this post.)

Now that Man and I are basically over the ickies, we are starting to take in the sites of this area of New Mexico, we made a day trip out of a jaunt over the mountains to White Sands National Monument.


White Sands is at the northern edge of the Chihauhaun Desert, in the center of the Tularosa Basin and is formed from gypsum from the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains.  The "sand" is formed over time by evaporation of gypsum loaded runoff water from the mountains and the action of years of wind and weather.  The National Parks Service has a great web page,  while I was drafting this post I could not access the additional links, so, suggest you go have a lookie see for a better explanation of this phenomenon of gypsum sand.

The resulting "sand" may resemble sand from a seashore or lakeside, as it is white and rolls around into dunes.  However, I thought the the texture is different, rather soft, instead of course and sharp like sand can be.

Yes, that IS snow on that mountain top. 
This is either Salinas Peak (8958 feet)
or Sierra Blanca Peak (12,003 feet).  I have not
figured out which yet.

There are several hiking trails, one is a boardwalk, handicapped accessible, the other is a hike right through the dunes, and is called the Dune Life Nature Trail.  We walked both of these.

It was a cloudy day, I set the Sony for 'bright days', however, with all that white gypsum sand I still had trouble getting photos that were anything but a blaze of white.  Therefore, photos on today's blog have been tweaked to pull out what little color and detail there is.

Man walking the gypsum sand dunes, looks like
winter in Michigan, gray skies, lots of white
stuff on the ground, his winter coat and THE hat!

Yes, they even go sledding just like on a winter
day in Michigan, but no snowsuits!

This looks like it could be from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
during a blizzard, but, it is actually a photo of the
drive in to the White Sands area taken through
the windshield. 

This dome shaped plant topped "structure" is called a
gypsum plant stand.  It is formed when a plant grows tall to
stay on top of a sand dune.  Then, the dune moves on, leaving
the root bound base in place.  Man touched one and found
it to be very hard, almost rock like.

Big Butt's front tire after driving around in gypsum sand.  Our
shoes were covered on the bottom as well, had to take
a stiff bristle brush to them to get them clean.

While I was writing this post it started snowing in Las Cruces.  They have had no moisture here for something like 65 to 70 days.  We had some light rain, some small 1/4 inch hail balls and then, REAL SNOW!  No, it did not collect, not even on the grassy areas.

* Please visit Reflection's Flora and Fauna for more photos from White Sands National Monument.  The Soap Tree Yucca and Rio Grande Cottonwood have already been highlighted.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

THE Trip, Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Revisited

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Yesterday Man and I drove to the end of Lohman Road here in Las Cruces.  Mission, get closer to the mountain, away from all the power lines, attempt to get a better photo(s).  There seems to always be some haze here, obscuring the mountains, just a little.  The end of the road is still a good 10 miles from the mountains.  It does not look that far viewed with the human eye, but, when you photo the mountains you need a lot of zoom and the haze makes itself known.  There were some great clouds yesterday to add a bit of interest.

Note:  I have edited these, sharpened a tad, auto correct, maybe a little contrast.  No color enhancements.  A bit of cropping, but you can still see power lines in the panoramic/wide shot (not taken with panoramic tool on the Sony).  I was able to crop them out of the close up (zoomed 20 times).  Remember that trick of clicking on the photo to see in a larger format, click your back button to return to Reflections. 

I hope you enjoyed viewing these as much as I enjoyed taking them.  Today, if we drove out to the end of Lohman, I am sure the view would be totally different, clouded by a dust storm.


THE Trip, Las Cruces New Mexico Tidbits

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Here are a few photos from our first couple of weeks here in Las Cruces New Mexico.

On December 20-21st, we had the Winter Sostice with an Eclipse as well.  I played at being photographer, and truthfully, most of the photos were, well, ickkkkk, but I had fun trying.  I did not use a tripod. Unlike so many other parts of the US we had almost totally clear skies.

Las Cruces is about 10 miles (give or take) from the Organ Mountains, they have captured my attention, and my camera is trying to capture them.

Organ Mountains, taken from the campground.
Organ Mountains, taken at sunset, aglow in pink.
Again, taken from the campground, from our campsite.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday, THE Trip, Ticket Memories

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Tickets and memories from the first 6 weeks or so of THE Trip.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday's Tip(s), Top Ten - My Soapbox Times Ten

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Barbara over at Life From the Roots, has done several posts about her Top Ten - Top Ten Sayings, Top Ten Hints, Top Ten - Brick Walls, etc.  I have enjoyed her "series" a lot and told her so, and she immediately issued the challenge, "Do one of your own."  I giggled and said, if I had ten tops, I would.

And, then, the other day I had one of those memory trigger things go off in my head.  Next thing I knew, I had my own Top Ten - My Soapbox Times Ten.  Ten lessons I repeat time and time again when I have the opportunity to teach.  Here ya go Barbara, in no particular order:

1.)  Spelling don't count.

2.)  Source, source, source.  State your sources, in your notes, in your footnotes, source it baby!

3.)  Do your census work.

4.)  Don't skip generations.  Work generation by generation.  Ya, tedious sometimes, but skipping creates major trouble for most of us sometime down the line.

5.)  Give credit where credit is due.  Cousin Joe shares a photo with you, mention him, thank him somewhere, in your data base, in the caption of the photo in your printed work, on your web site.  You owe him, give him credit.   You would not have that photo without his generosity.  It does not hurt to give credit to others.  It does not diminish your volume of work, it only enhances it, shows community.

6.)  Thank your volunteers.  Did you get all this fabulous family stuff without the help of volunteers??  If you did, may I say, WOW.  If you had help, thank them in email, or even better, send them a small donation, tell them to go have lunch on you.  Oh, and if they had expenses on your account, pay them, and then add that lunch $$.

7.)  Give back.  Volunteer to help someone else.  Feels great, pay it forward.

8.)  Share your research.  Keeping it to yourself??  May I ask, why?? Not saying you have to share everything about the 25,677 people in your data base with every 10th cousin 3 times removed you meet up with, but, sharing some about your connection, that far flung ggg, something or other, is the right thing to do.

9.)  Have fun, laugh.  OK, this is serious to you, you want exact dates, places, you do sourcing that would make Elizabeth (Shown Mills) proud.  But, remember, all work and no play makes the family researcher a grouch.  (Or something like that!  LOL)  Really, look for the silly, the ridiculous, the absurd.  Smile!

10.)  Start with yourself, be very sure you know WHO you are.  Many many years ago an article was written about an English gentleman, we shall call George.  George researched for something like 20 years, personally interviewed over 2000 of his closest kin.  Finally got around to interviewing his aunt (no times removed, just his aunt) and, the very first thing out of her mouth was,

"But George, you were adopted!"

As far as I know this is a true story, but, even if it is not, I think you get the lesson.

Go forth and research, I'll get off my soap box for now.

*Graphic courtesy of freeclipartnow.com noting I stitched the numbers together to make one graphic to get the number 10!

Monday, December 27, 2010

101st Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, My Genealogy Research/Writing Plan for 2011.

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Jasia, aka, Creative Gene, has issued the challenge for her 101st Carnival of Genealogy:

Figure out what you think you can accomplish in 2011 and write it up on your blog, your genealogy research/writing plan for 2011.

For someone who for some unknown reason has found that she is living her life from minute to minute, hour by hour, day by day, and someone who has found she has trouble lately planning even the grocery trip, this could turn out to be quite difficult.  Can I actually plan what I would like to accomplish in 2011?  I also have this "eyes are bigger than her tummy" syndrome, so being realistic is, well, hard.

Lets give it a shot tho, with the disclaimer that these are hopes, and not set in stone, and being a gal, I reserve the right to change my mind, once, twice or more.

1.  Publish one, or more, cemetery/burial books for the Lenawee County Family Researchers.

2.  Figure out, finally, how to get all this Lashbrook data/book/stuff/collection into the hands of the other researchers/descendants that are so patiently waiting (this was on last years list too, sighhhh).

3.  Salt Lake City (need I say more??) to research, research, research.  This one item requires a bunch of organization and review of all the files I have tucked into Tana, here and there.  Shhh, don't tell Man how many I actually hid in here!  Prep work is a required necessity if we actually get to SLC.


4.  Always on my list, although technically not what I want to accomplish as far as research or writing, these need to be done and do help the writing:  scan documents and photos, clean files, organize the office.  Seeing that I left my office at the stick built in worse condition at the end of 2010 than it was at the beginning of 2010, just organizing the office is a monumental undertaking.  I did, however, clean out a few (VERY few) files this last year.


That's it, I don't dare contemplate any more than that.  Now, where are those files on the Halterman family I stashed somewhere here in Tana?

* Graphics both from sources unknown, long forgotten, apologies to the artists.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

THE Trip, Christmas Eve in Las Cruces New Mexico, A Most Delightful & Unique Experience

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

On December 23rd, late in the day, as daylight was quickly retreating, a new rig pulled into the campground where we are staying.  They chose a rather difficult site to park/live in for the next 3 months and they were having considerable trouble maneuvering their large home on wheels into the site.  Eventually Man went out and helped some, I quickly introduced myself to the lady of the house, err, wheels.  Once they were safely parked, Man and I retreated to Tana, as it was getting dark and coolish.

Christmas Eve the campground set up luminaries and provided a Mexican Christmas holiday meal.

Just some of the offerings for the Mexican holiday
dinner offered by the campground.  There was also
soup, eggnog, tea and more.

After dinner Man stopped by our new neighbors to remind them of the good eats at the clubhouse, and within minutes we found ourselves invited to go with them to Mesilla to see that town's luminaries and participate in caroling in the town square.  What followed was 5 hours of fun, and laughter, in what turned out to be a unique and delightful Christmas Eve.

Gene and his bride, Daisy, newlyweds, aged 71 and 68, respectively, give or take a few years, are very familiar with Las Cruces, so Man and I soon had a private guided tour to the best that this area of New Mexico has to offer. 

A luminary at Mesilla:

Christmas caroling in Mesilla's town square.

Luminaries on the ground and on the buildings.  Candles
held by the crowd, song sheets, a family to lead in song.
Not seen in this photo, the gazebo and the town Christmas tree.

After several hours of enjoying Mesilla we decided we were chilled and hungry, so, we headed back to Las Cruces where we found a restaurant open, grabbed some food and hot drinks and Gene proceeded to tease, confuse and charm the wait staff.

After our refreshment stop Gene and Daisy took us for the cooks tour of Las Cruces on Christmas Eve.  Luminaries line the neighborhood streets, and of course, many of the homes are lit and decorated.  The photo below qualifies as "house with the most lights" in Las Cruces, and was even highlighted on the front page of the "Las Cruces Bulletin".  The owner decorates the house himself, has over 15,000 lights and a power bill for December of $400 to $500.

Man just had to have photos, so, he took the camera, jumped out of the truck and took a few snapshots, AND, ooops, lost his hat as well.

Next Gene took us through downtown Las Cruces and then to the west side of town.  Gene took us to a mesa, a plateau, where we got a spectacular view of Las Cruces at night.   (Ohh, this is a bit of a special place for Gene and Daisy, he proposed to her up on that mesa!)

The photo does not do justice, not even close.

This is when we discovered that Man had lost his hat. (MMM, Man loves this hat, it is warm and matches his jacket.)  Gene volunteered to take us back to that house and see if the hat was lying on the ground.  My goodness, clean back to the east side of town we went.

And, guess what, Man found his hat!  I missed the photo of him jumping up and down like a 3 year old kid. RATS!!

Over five hours after we left the campground we returned to find the luminaries here still burning, and we had had a wonderful evening with our new good friends Gene and Daisy. 

And, thus ended our delightful, unique and undoubtedly, an unforgettable Christmas Eve thanks to Gene and Daisy.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Two Santas

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

May it take two Santas to deliver all your holiday goodies.

Merry Christmas,

Carol and her Man

*Taken in Grapevine Texas


Sharing a Slice of Life, Traditions

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

I have been a bit busy lately (or fighting the ickies) and have not participated in Sharing a Slice of Life in quite a while, I am sorry to the organizers and I have missed participating.  SOOOO:

Sharing a Slice of Life, asks this week for us to share Traditions of the season, and we all know one tradition that almost all of us share at this time of the year is FOOD!!


Traditions are important, they ground us, keeping the past and the future connected.

But traditions should be allowed to change, and sometimes the change will become a new tradition.

Years ago in our home a tradition of a meal cooked on Christmas Day, turkey perhaps, with all the trimmings, came to an abrupt halt. We had two young sons, energetic little dudes. By the time Christmas day came along I was usually exhausted, this year, was the same. However, the 26th of December dawned and I was sick, really sick. I just wanted to lie on the couch and suffer, and sleep, and suffer some more. I told Man, do not talk to me, pretend I no longer exist (I mean, that was the way I felt, as if I was no longer part of this world). I vowed right then and there, if I ever recovered, there would never be another meal cooked and served hot in my house again on any future Christmas day.

I know, I can hear some of you really groaning and moaning, and the gasps of disbelief. How can one possibly celebrate Christmas day without a traditional hot meal. Easy, you prepare it all in the day or so before and it must all be special and served cold, right out of the frig. Our menus consisted of boiled shrimp (3 pounds or more), a smoked turkey, a spiral cut honey baked ham, deviled eggs, cucumber sandwiches, Man’s mother’s to-die-for-and-no-one-can-prepare-it-like-she-did potato salad, special cheeses, fresh vegie trays with dip(s), and of course, holiday cookies and one of our family favorites, cheesecake made from my mother’s recipe.

We may not have had hot food, but, we had a feast! We nibbled all day long, of course, it took us all day long to open all our gifts too.

Traditions, great links to our future and our past, but, don’t be afraid to change one or two now and then, you may find a new and improved tradition to enjoy. And, of course, don’t be afraid to try, discard and go right back to the traditions that you hold dear.

*Graphics courtesy of cksinfo.com


Thursday, December 23, 2010

THE Trip, Gates and Holiday Decorations, Mesilla, New Mexico

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Man and I are on the mend and decided to have lunch in Mesilla, New Mexico.  It is an interesting town, boasts of historical figures such as Jesse James and Panco Villa and others, if you visit this Wikipedia page, you can get a brief history. 

I have a fascination with gates, and just could not resist this one, Happy Holidays to all.

* Additional photos taken in Mesilla will be featured over at Reflection's Flora and Fauna in the next few days.


Last Minute Prep at the North Pole

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

* From our holiday evening in Grapevine Texas.

** Somehow I get the feeling that reindeer is just not quite ready to fly?  On strike?


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday, Dave Muth

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Stumbled upon this small memorial (size about 5 inches wide by 3 inches in height) while Man and I visited the Grapevine Texas holiday light show.  I did not edit the photo, you can see the red and green glow from the holiday lights.  The stone was just laying there.  If it had been covered with more leaves I would not have even seen it.  I had to photograph it.

I found David's obituary, which was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) on October 29, 2008.  I chose to not copy the names of his survivors, to allow them some privacy.  Here is, in part, the obituary I found online:

GRAPEVINE -- David Wayne Muth passed away Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008, in Robert Lee.

Memorial service: 10 a.m. Wednesday in Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Chapel, 5725 Colleyville Blvd.

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations in Dave's name be sent to Community Storehouse, Box 13, Keller, Texas 76244.

Dave was born May 2, 1951, in Grove City, Pa. He was an outstanding football player, earning a scholarship to the University of Richmond, and finishing his career as a student athlete as a Mount Union College Purple Raider of Alliance, Ohio.

After graduating from Mount Union, he began his career as an educator and coach in the Phoenix, Ariz., metropolitan area. He then moved on to coach at the college level at San Jose State University.

He married [name deleted by CABS] on May 28, 1978, and the couple raised four sons. Dave transitioned into the hospitality industry while working primarily for Quorum Hotels and Resorts. He served as general manager for the Hilton East Phoenix in Mesa, Ariz., and most recently in the same capacity for the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center.

Dave's greatest enthusiasms in life were family and sports, as shown by his years of coaching his sons in football and basketball. While in Phoenix, Dave enjoyed watching his son, [name deleted by CABS], playing football at St. Mary's High School and Fort Hays State (Kansas); his son, [name deleted by CABS], playing at Pinnacle High School and Stanford University; his son, [name deleted by CABS], winning a state championship in basketball at St. Mary's High School; and proudly escorting his son, [name deleted by CABS], to Texas A&M University this fall.

Names of survivors deleted by CABS. 

Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home

RIP Dave Muth.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Lost Cousins on Madness Monday

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

I saw this idea months ago on Long Lost Relatives.net.  I thought it was a great idea, but had to build up my nerve to try it.   Now, with bated breath, I am going to put this out there, first cousins should know each other, right??

Man's father had 2 brothers, one died without issue, the other, George Elmer Stevens had 2 children with his wife Irene Zsenyuk.  George and Irene were divorced.  George has passed.

George and Irene's children are JoAnn Kay Stevens, born ca 1952 in Michigan and Walter John Stevens, born ca 1953 in Michigan.

JoAnn and Walter are Man's first cousins.

According to George, he last saw JoAnn & Walter in West Covina, CA in the 1960's.

That is about all we know.

I attempted contact by sending the Social Security Administration a letter a few years ago.  Supposedly the Administration will forward the letter to your relative, if they know where they are.  I never heard a word from either JoAnn or Walter.

JoAnn and Walter, your first cousin is looking for you.

*Graphic courtesy of VintageKin  (The link I had to VintageKin no longer functional as of October 2018.)


Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Mexico Sunset

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

*Outside our trailer the other evening.