Jane visits California

We had so much fun while Jane was in town! I made sure she got to see all the important places, well, at least the ones you can fit into a 48-hour visit.

Meg and Jane at Bodega Headlands

We first walked around downtown Petaluma, went in all the antique shops and furniture stores. After lunch at Petaluma Pie Co., we drove out to my favorite spot at the Bodega Headlands.

Meg, Jane and Auntie in front of the mission at Cline Cellars

The next day we went to Della Fattoria for brunch to gear up for the day. We met Auntie and Tio at Cline, where Jane tasted a broad range of wines, and then we toured the grounds while walking her through our wedding day in 2010. After reenacting the big day, we all ventured over to Sonoma for a birthday BBQ, and then finished off the evening with truffle fries from EDK.

Meg and Jane, having a good time!

It was a pretty fabulous 2 days!

Happy Birthday Jane, I hope you’ll come back and visit us again soon:)

My DNA Revisited: Where Did I Come From

On September 17, 2012, I published a post “My DNA–What? Surely you Jest!!  Just a few days earlier I received notification of my DNA results from Ancestry.com.  My photograph of a torn up circle representing my DNA was prominently included in my post.

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For amateur genealogists everywhere, Ancestry.com’s $99 DNA test was probably their (and my) first chance to actually get a sense, scientifically of “where did I come from”.  I bought a test in the Fall of 2012, took the test, received the results and was totally confused.  Nowhere in my DNA test results did I see any support for my research concerning my Western European roots.  Since my own research indicated strong ties to France and Germany, I tore up my test results in frustration.

IMG_3243What a difference a year makes.  On Oct. 17, 2013, I received an e-mail fromAncestry.com notifying me (and, I am sure, everyone else who has taken their DNA test) that “Our breakthrough update is here, with exciting new details and context…”.  The new results more closely mirror my years of research into my family tree.

In many respects the old and new results are similar.  But in terms of my family history research they are miles apart.  Much of the research I had given up as wrong, is now consistent with the new results.

 

My revised DNA test results:                                         My original test results:

Scandinavian                33 %                                              Scandinavia                 43 %

Ireland                            30 % [1]                                         British Isles                  40 %

Europe West                18 %                                                Middle Eastern          10 %

Italy/Greece                 12 %                                                Southern European    7 %

Trace Regions

Iberian Peninsula       4 % [2]

Finland/N. Russia    < 1 %

Great Britain              < 1 %

Caucasus                       1 % [3]

My research is validated in many significant respects:  My Lewis ancestors presumably moved to the colonies in the 1600’s from Wales rather than England.

My Western European DNA is consistent with the Mesle migration from Western France where they lived in St. Maixent, Alencon and Poitou (just North of the Iberian Peninsula) beginning in about 1000.  By the  1300s, Mesles lived in the Normandy Region of France.  By the the 1500s and 1600s, Mesles lived in Germany before relocating to the New World.

My great-grandfather Franz Mesle, nicknamed “the Swab”, almost certainly lived at least briefly in Austria-Hungary.  Germans who settled in Austria-Hungary, (near the Caucasus area) were called Swabs.  Franz married Katharine Kirsch/ner, daughter of Conrad Kirsch/ner.  A Catharine Kirschner was born in Jabuka, Austria-Hungary in the 1800’s to Conradus Kirschner. By 1881 Franz and Catharine lived in Canada and then the U.S.

If my new and enhanced DNA results are correct that I am 1 % English, my maternal great grandparents, John Fox and Jane Bond Fox, both born in England, must be my only English ancestors.

My search continues.  The biggest change in my results are, to be fair, a shift of DNA results from Northern Europe to Northern and Western Europe.  But this seemingly minor change is significant in connecting my research to my DNA.

I now continue my search.  Who am I? Where do I come from?  What difference does it make?  Maybe none.  But my quest continues.

As for my Lumbee ancestors–I still do not have a trace of Native American DNA

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[1] “Ireland” includes Wales for purposes of the DNA results

[2] The Iberian Peninsula includes extreme SW Europe: parts of France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra & Gibraltar

[3] Caucasus is on border between Turkey & Kazakhstan in W. Asia

Dad Turns 99

Born October 14, 1914, Carl Mesle turns 99 today.  He was born in Sherrill, NY.

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During World War II, dad served in the military. After completing his training as an intelligence officer, he was fortunate to have a position working in the Pentagon.  As thankful as Mom was to have him in a safe location instead of fighting overseas, dad felt it was unfair that he got to stay home in the safety of the Pentagon while his friends had to go into battle. It was that mentality that drove him to serve his community, to take care of the people who needed help.

After leaving military service, dad worked first, as a professional Boy Scout leader, serving under H. Roe Bartle, before accepting a position as a minister in the Community of Christ Church.

His life has been spent in service to his church and to his community.  As he describes it, “I dedicated my life to my church until I turned 65 and then embraced the charitable community.”  (Of course, his faith, and commitment thereto, have never wavered.)

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Until age related frailties limited his ability to actively participate in life outside the Groves, he participated in the activities of Troop 223 of the Boy Scouts; served on the Board of his neighborhood association, and—the list goes on.  He only gave up his prolific writings when his vision failed him.

He has been recognized by many of the numerous civic and charitable organizations he loves and has supported–the Boy Scouts, McCoy Neighborhood Association, the Heartland Foundation, the list goes on.  Perhaps my favorite, is his recognition  received at the Truman Library where he was, I am sure, thrilled to share the stage with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  But he was so gratified by his recent recognition from members of the Independence African-American Community for his commitment to civil rights.

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He has never smoked, consumed alcohol or illegal drugs.  He exercised regularly until his body refused to cooperate.  Even today, he attends daily devotions at the Groves, expressing thanks for the good in his life and the faith that has sustained him.

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Our family is fortunate to experience our mother’s gift of love and dad’s dedication to his faith, his values and his community.  Members of his family and friends who have been a part of his life for up many years shared his birthday with him.

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Meg and her cousins could not have better role models than mom and dad.  Watching their lives so far, I am happy to report that the “apple/s don’t fall far from the trees”.

Happy birthday, dad.  Love ya

California Vistas: SLO County Coastline

California Vistas: SLO County Coastline

There are an endless number of beautiful views in Sonoma County. I tend to gravitate toward the ocean and the coastline, which I’m sure comes as no surprise. This shot was taken from the beach along the Central Coast. We were on our way down to Avila, one of our favorite spots in California, and we came across a beach full of elephant seals. It was sunset, my favorite time to be out on the coast, and the weather was fantastic.

Happy 5th Birthday, Cousteau!

On January 4, 2011, this little (okay, BIG) bundle of love and energy came into our lives. It was Lily who decided to take him home from the kennel that evening, and after “fostering” him for a few months, we all agreed he was meant to be part of the family. Cousteau, of course, knew all along that he’d be staying with us forever.

Cousteau in Tomales Bay

We didn’t pick his name, but after getting to know him these last few years, I can’t imagine anything different. He is curious, adventurous, spontaneous, and probably has ADD. He sleeps most of the day, and then suddenly becomes distracted by toy, after toy, after toy. Most importantly, he has been there for me during some tough times, and I always know I can lean on him at the end of the day.

And today, Mr. Cousteau turns 5 years young. Happy Birthday, Cousteau. We’re lucky to have you!

Sundays with Terry: The Flint Hills

In celebration of Labor Day Terry, Casey and I visited the Flint Hills. Following the “America’s By-Ways” route from Callaway, Ks. to Council Grove, we spent a day surrounded by evidences of a simpler way of life: small towns, coffee shops and two lane highways.

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The grasslands, rolling hills and unassuming waterways are lovely, if not dramatic.

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Abandoned houses seem just a little bit more exotic in the Flint Hills than when we see them in our own community.

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Death comes as surely as anywhere else.

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Kauffman Garden’s Smallest Critters

It is a glorious season at Kauffman Gardens.  The fall flowers are in full bloom or blooming.  The air is cool.

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It is a busy time of year in the garden.  Not only are visitors spread throughout the garden, the insects are everywhere. they seem to thrive in the cooler weather.  In their ways, the insects are as fascinating as the garden that attracts them.

Monarch butterflies are in abundance, with their brilliant orange and black wings and spotted bodies.

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While incredibly destructive in large numbers, this grasshopper was all alone, enjoying the banquet that surrounded him.

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This wings of this moth were so pale in color they seem to have disappeared from the page.  However, the photograph reflects, its yellow body matched the flowers that surrounded it.

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Not as vibrant as its neighbors, this moth is a sharp contrast to the colors of the vibrant pink and green.

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The bees everywhere were busy as they darted from flower to flower.  None of the insects paid the slightest attention to each other or the human visitors.  All of them worked hard as though their own survival–and the beauty of the garden–depend on their work.  Probably they do.

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Hope you find a bit of nature to enjoy and explore.  Happy weekend.

The Green Tractor: John Deere

John Deere mailboxLong before Jason Aldean’s hit single “My Big Green Tractor”, farmer’s had a love affair with John Deere.  John Deere has it all.  Founded in 1868, Deere & Company has grown for over 175 years while continually expanding its products, its markets and its core values.  It serves farmers, ranchers, landowners, home owners,  and builders in the U.S. and throughout the world by providing a broad range of high quality products, large and small.  A worldwide leader in agricultural and building machinery, it has roots deep in the community. Simultaneously, it looks to the future by continuing to provide innovative products for its customers.

ALL BUSINESS IS LOCAL–  Wow.  I love it.  With world headquarters in Moline, Illinois, Deere manufactures products throughout the U.S. at plants in Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota and California. It’s marketing, design and distribution sites are even more extensive.  In addition, it manufactures its products in Canada, Central and South America, Europe, USA FlagAsia and Africa.  The Deere philosophy espouses conducting business and manufacturing operations at home in the U.S., as wells as in the nations it serves.

WORKING THE LAND-PROTECTING THE PLANET–  John Deere’s long-standing commitment to safeguarding the environment is reflected in its goal to reduce its carbon footprint in its physical plant and in its product lines.  It has adopted 2018 Enterprise Eco-Efficiency Goals.  Deere’s goals include reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and its water consumption by 15% between 2012-2018 and recycling 75% of its waste by 2013.   Deere introduces its first diesel-electric hybrid wheel loader in 2013.

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EMPLOYEES ARE A TOP PRIORITY– Deere also recognizes the value of its employees.  Deere offers base pay, bonuses, stock options and other long-term cash awards. Consistent with its recognition as “among the best places to work”, it encourages employees to continue their educations.  In a partnership between John Deere, its deals, and select community colleges, Deere’s C & F Tech initiative offers job training through a two-year associate degree focused on an Ag & Turf Technician program and a Diesel Technology program.

Deere’s Supplier Code of Conduct requires suppliers to comply with restrictions on child labor, prohibits forced labor, supports diversity and equal opportunity, requires treatment of all workers with respect and dignity, and protects the right of workers to report concerns without fear of retaliation.

9,500 Deere employees are represented by the American Auto Workers.

DEERE’S PHILANTHROPIC COMMITMENT

Deere’s philanthropic activities include support for education, for the development of sustainable food supplies and economic growth, and community enrichment. These activities also include efforts alleviating hunger, while advancing education and supporting community development.

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John Deere:  A best buy!

Where In The World Is Sophia? The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Observing life through Sophia’s 3-year-old perspective is quite an experience.  This is one of my favorite pictures of her, because she seems so “in the moment” even though you can only see her feet.  For those unfamiliar with the Nelson, the last photo of her clearly reveals her location!

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Sophia loves to dance.  Constantly in motion, she seemed inspired by the  Rozelle Court fountain, as she did the fountains throughout the area.

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Lovers of art themselves, mom and dad ensured that Sophia actually toured at least the Nelson’s main gallery area.

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Here is Sophia standing beside–instead of hiding behind–the Nelson’s famous shuttlecock.

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Our visit was soon over, but we hop Sophia treasures her memories of Kansas City and family as we treasure her.

Where In The World Is Sophia? Sheila Kemper Dietrich Park

During one of Sophia’s infrequent trips to the U.S. from her home in the Netherlands, Terry and I wanted to share with her some of our favorite places.

Sheila Kemper Dietrich Park is one of my favorite Kansas City parks for children.  There is plenty to amuse any 3-year-old.   The park has:

A Sea Monster

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A pirate ship

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A chance to “steer” the ship

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And much more.  Great fun for the young and young at heart.