Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas - December 2011

Merry Christmas
December 2011

Have you ever thought about what has happened because Christ has come to the world?  That Babe in the manger of Bethlehem grew up to become our crucified and risen Savior -- and the world has never been the same. ... If Christ had not come, this world would indeed be a hopeless world.  (Billy Graham, Hope For Each Day, 19 December)

Kathy Mattea Singing - Mary Did You Know


Melva, Dick and Cyndi at the Alamo Restaurant

Cyndi and Dick have been busy upgrading computers this year.  Cyndi bought Dick a very nice set-up to replace his old desktop computer which was barely functioning.  It's a Toshiba Satellite C655 laptop with a Dynadock docking station and an external ViewSonic 1080p flat screen monitor.  A friend at the computer club donated two external speakers to the project.  This computer is running the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.  From a Library of Congress friend Dick obtained an ASUS netbook computer with an external CD drive.  This computer runs the Windows 98 operating system.  Dick added a roll-up USB keyboard he bought at a church yard sale.  Cyndi has been using this one.

At a flea market Dick bought an external floppy drive with a USB connector.  He also bought a case and USB connector for the hard drive from his old laptop computer which had reached the end of its life.  He succeeded in getting both devices to work with the new laptop.

Dick and Cyndi thought it would be fun to see if they could communicate with friends and family using the Skype service.  First they got the video and voice working between the two computers in our house.  Later, Cyndi talked with her friend in Germany and Dick talked with a friend in Bowie, MD and his college friend, Don Gardner, in Missouri.  They were somewhat disappointed when they realized that very few friends and family have Skype installed.

The new computer allowed Dick to do many things that weren't possible before.  He's enjoyed listening to music videos on YouTube. Sometimes he listens to the streaming audio broadcasts of The Grand Ole Opry over WSM Radio in Nashville, TN.  On Wednesday nights he watches the Music City Roots program from the Loveless Cafe near Nashville, TN.

Dick enjoys keeping in touch with family and friends via Facebook and Google Gmail.  He's a very active user of Facebook.

Dick with the ASUS Netbook at the opening of Busboys and Poets

He uses the Spotify and the Google Music applications.  He stores some of his data in "the cloud" using the 5GB of free storage on  The county library offers free MP3 music downloads from the Freegal application.  Dick remembered most weeks to download the three free tracks.

Dick's alma mater, Pittsburg State University of Pittsburg, Kansas played against Wayne State University of Detroit, MI in the NCAA Division II Football Championship in Florence, AL.  Dick watched the semi-final game over ESPN3 on the laptop computer and the final over ESPN2 on cable television.  Pittsburg won.  This was the fourth national championship since 1957.  They won the NAIA championship in 1957 (Dick's first year of college) and in 1961.  They won the NCAA Division II in 1991.

Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas

During the year Dick has helped out with website maintenance for the Bowie Seniors Computer Club and the Monroe County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society.  He also created a Page for the genealogical society on Facebook.

Dick continues to maintain four Google blogs.  He tries to post to two of them daily.  He feeds his Mr. Dickie's Blog to his Facebook page using the NetworkedBlogs service. The blogs, with number of posts and number of page views, as of 22 December 2011 are listed below.  There is also some genealogy information available on a Google Site and a Google Group Dick created because he wanted to learn about how those free services work.

Blog Name - Number of Posts - Number of Page Views
Mr. Dickie's Blog - 1281 - 13480
Arrow Prayers - 2083 - 9121
Henthorn Genealogy Obits - 284 - 10000
Henthorn Genealogy News - 714 - 26311
Totals - 4362 - 58912

Dick shares some of his bookmarks on the public bookmark application, Delicious.  There are bookmarks that would be of interest to folks working on genealogy and to people planning a visit to Washington, DC.  Look for bookmark tags: "Washington" and "WashingtonDC."

In 2012 Dick plans to install a genealogy program on the new computer by upgrading to Version 5 of RootsMagic.  He's looking forward to trying out some of the features he couldn't use on the old desktop computer.

Melva continues to enjoy attending weekly quilting class at the Bowie Senior Center.  The ladies also get together for lunch about once a month to celebrate birthdays.  This year the group set up tables at the Senior Center Holiday Bazaar and sold items donated by the class members.  The proceeds were donated to Haiti through the church of the class teacher.  Melva sent quilts to Panama for the first time this year. She made one quilt for her sister, Aura, and another for her brother, Olmedo.  One day Melva found and purchased an unfinished quilt at a thrift store.  During the year she completed the quilt, adding batting, a backing and border.  At the quilting class Christmas party she won a prize of an unfinished  Sun Bonnett Sue applique quilt.  This will, no doubt, be one of her 2012 projects.

Thrift Shop Quilt Finished by Melva

The jobs of both Melva and Cyndi came to an end during the year.  Both resignations were surprises and entail long stories.  There was another reorganization where Cyndi worked.  After working there for ten years she decided it was time to take a break and look for something else.  Melva seems to be all right with hanging up her scissors except for an occasional job at someone's house.

Both Dick and Melva continued their program of daily reading.  Dick tries to read a page each day from several books.  This year he will finish eleven books on the last day of the year to add to the list of those he completed earlier.  In November Dick selected a stack of books for his 2012 program.  He plans to use the application, LibraryThing to track his 2012 reading program.

During the year we experience three encounters with Mother Nature. Twice during high winds we lost shingles from the roof.  This had never happened before in the thirty-three years we have been in this house.  The three of us were in different rooms during the earthquake that struck the Washington, DC area.  The shaking was rather severe.  Some CDs and Zip discs in the computer room fell to the floor, a door stuck for several seconds and the door of the china cabinet swung open.  We haven't noticed any structural damage to the house but there seem to be new cracks in the driveway and sidewalk.  It was the first earthquake for Cyndi and I.  Melva had felt them in Panama.

In late November Cyndi went for a twenty-eight day visit with relatives in Panama.  She returned to Dulles airport about 12:30 a.m. on December 23nd.  It took about an hour to clear customs.

View of Volcan Baru from Melva's hometown of Volcan

On December 14th, Dick and his Library of Congress lunch buddy, Dave Naylor, road the subway downtown to attend the Christmas Retiree Luncheon hosted by The Librarian of Congress.  Before going to the Christmas Carol Singing in The Great Hall they stopped at an Information Technology party on the sixth floor of the Madison Building.  After lunch they attended a meeting of a small group of folks held in Conference Rooms B and C of Information Technology Services.  It was fun to see retired friends, folks still working and three who will retire at the end of the month.

Main Reading Room - Library of Congress

In September 2012 Dick's classmates in Bellevue, Nebraska and Wichita, Kansas are planning to hold their 55th Class Reunions.  The dates are on consecutive weekends.  Dick has stated that he is interested in trying to attend both events.  Both classes established Facebook pages where folks can communicate and share photos.

Thanks to everyone who made the effort to keep in touch this year via: Email, Facebook, Skype, telephone and cards and letters.

Happy New Year 2012
Dick, Melva, Cyndi


Bobbie said...

Are you on the computer all day? :)
I didn't know the date for The 57Aces reunionb had been set. Sept is a very busy month for Triathlon races. I am a;ready commited For one. I had hoped To attend in 2012

Mr. Dickie said...

Bobbie told me on Facebook that she had trouble posting a comment to Mr. Dickie's Blog. I checked this morning and the comment was there. Since there are links to the blog posting on both Facebook and Networked Blogs maybe that had something to do with it.

Nancy said...

Merry Christmas to you!!!!! I enjoyed your Christmas Letter!!!! Loved the pictures!!!!

I was especially pleased to hear you hoped to attend our 55th Reunion in Bellevue!!!!

We had a wonderful Christmas.....our three kids and families were here! Weather sure has been warm though!

Will stay in touch!!! I will defnitely join you on Skype when I upgrade my laptop. I have VISTA....YUK! Using Gary's desktop most of the time.