Sunday, July 20, 2014



Last month, when I received the above invitation to my cousin's (on my father's side) 90th birthday party, I did not think I would make it.  But my sister Mary flew into Ft Worth and moved into Aunt Louise's apartment for that weekend so I packed up the RV and took off for the 5 hour trip to Shreveport, La.

Sadly, I did not get to the party at her office where the Mayor and several other dignitaries showed up to proclaim Jo Beverly, 'Queen for a Day'.  And yes, she is still doing the 9-to-5 and more remarkably, shows no signs of slowing down. 

Office of the Mayor
Shreveport, La


WHEREAS, today, family and friends are gathered to honor and celebrate the 90th birthday of Ms Jo Eddins: and

WHEREAS, Winston Churchill once said, "You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give," and

WHEREAS, this quote embodies the life of Ms Jo Eddins because she selflessly has given herself to the Caddo Council on Aging for the past 17 years;     and

WHEREAS, she works as an Information and Referral Specialist to assist other elderly members of the Shreveport community in obtaining the necessary resources;    and

WHEREAS,  with a kind heart, humble hands, and sweet words she encourages and loves the staff and fellow citizens;     and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Cedric B. Glover, Mayor of the City of Shreveport, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 as:


There was also a "Sheriff's Proclamation"    and

A letter of congratulations from the Parish Council.

For the friends and family that did not get to that party, a second gathering was held on Saturday at Jo Beverly's house.

The turn-out was great but I failed to get many of the names so I will list only a few and apologize to all those I've missed. 

Jo B with Paula, on the right, who has a great talent for decorating. 

Kim and Terry helped to plan and put it all together.

Jo B with a very close friend who shares the same age.  What remarkable genes.  I hope a few of those genes came my way.

Roxanne with her grandson.  She also helped plan the party.

 Jo B's backyard was perfect for the overflow.

This little guy with the very stylish hair do also sings a great "Happy Birthday"

Even Sigh Me enjoyed the back yard.

(Jo B, Kim and Brenda)

From the Shreveport Times newspaper:
Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover led the parade honoring Caddo Council on Aging's Jo Eddins at her surprise 90th birthday affair at the agency's headquarters.  By official proclamation, Glover declared July 2 as "Jo Eddins Day." 

Even Jo B had to declare, "I've had enough birthday!" at the end of the day.

But it still wasn't over.  On Sunday we called cousin, Dean, who lives in Many, La. and he drove up to visit for an hour.  Surprisingly, they had never met until that day, even though we are all three, cousins.  But it is because of Dean that I eventually found Jo Beverly and I am so grateful that he opened those doors for me.  
(My 'Quest' to find my father's family is explained in November, 2012 postings called "The Lambert Quest" and more in October 2013.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Birthday Party

When I first received the invitation to attend my sister-in-laws 90th birthday party in Minnesota I did not think I could go.  There was so much happening in my life it just seemed to be no way to fit the trip in--Until brother-in-law, Don, and son, Ron, gave me an early birthday present of an airplane ticket!

(Donna Mae and her daughter, Becky)
So on Friday the 29th of June I found a babysitter for Sigh Me, a companion sitter for Aunt Louise and I boarded a plane for a whirlwind weekend in Larson country.

(Brother-in-law, Don and his caregiver, Kelly)
Dapper Don was also celebrating his 92nd birthday that same weekend so it was a double celebration.
I do believe both Don and Donna Mae look younger every time I see them. 

He hasn't changed a bit in the two years since I last saw him.

It was Kelly's first time to Minnesota and I think she really enjoyed meeting this wonderful family.  
The weekend schedule read like this:

Friday night:  Don's birthday at the Pizza Parlor across from the hotel.
Saturday Lunch: hosted by Donna Mae at the apt. complex where she lives
Saturday dinner:  Barbecued Brats at Becky and Tim's place
Sunday morning:  church
Sunday afternoon:  Mega party for Donna Mae
Sunday Evening:  Dinner at Applebee's
Monday AM--Everybody flies home--tired but happy.

(Son Ron, Mary, Kelly, nephew Mark, nephew Alan, Connie)

(Standing:  Alan, Mark, Reed, Kelly, Becky, Don, Tim, Me, Mary
Seated: Donna Mae, David, Sheryl)

Son, Ron brought a map of Norway and it became the center of attention for a few of the family that are planning to visit there this year.  I couldn't resist this pose--sorry guys.

Then son, Ron, skyped the cousins in Norway and everyone had a chance to talk to them for a few minutes.  Ron's trip has really made me want to see Norway. My bucket list just gets longer and longer.

Cousins Reed, Mark and Ron

Little Anthony.  I called him 'Tony' but he didn't think that was so special.  Anyway, Donna Mae's great grandson is a cutey.

Master Chef, Tim.  Even though it was pouring rain outside, Tim and Becky put together a wonderful meal and no one missed 'the cookout'. Thanks, Tim, the brats were delicious.  

Ron and Donna Mae

Donna Mae's three--David, Becky and Alan 

Kelly had never seen the Mississippi River so Ron drove us to the Guthrie Theatre where we could walk out on their balcony and get this great view. The river was threatening to flood and it looked pretty wild.

Toni and Kelly

Ron and Kelly

More cousins--Sarah, Katy, Andrea, Kyle, Alex, and Mom, Sheryl

Who is that lovely lady having that serious discussion with Don?

She is Pearl, a fellow classmate of Don's from Cottonwood.  I think they are the last two from their    senior class.

Becky emceed the birthday party on Sunday for Donna Mae.  

This was less than 1/2 the crowd.
There were more than 100 people there, many had flown in from all over the country.

Mary and Mark

Me, Norman and Kelly
This is Donna Mae's 'friend' that sent her the most outrageously huge bouquet of red roses.  Kelly and I had to meet such a romantic guy.

Uncle Don with grand nieces, Laura and Britta.  

Laura, Mary and Britta 

Sharon, Mary, Me, Dale, Jeanie, Janice

One last meal at Applebee's

This has been my second family from the day I married Don and Donna Mae's brother, Roger, in 1961. They are as wonderful and loving as they appear in these pictures and I am so very grateful they are still in my life. 
Below this posting is a second, semi-related posting on additional happenings.

Parties Galore....

This is a summer to remember...on the weekend that I flew to Minnesota, my Aunt Cile also celebrated her 90th birthday in San Antonio.  If I could have split myself in two that weekend I surely would have.   Cousin Cherie sent me a picture of the celebration and I have tried to copy the picture into the blog with no luck.  But Wow!  It shows Aunt Cile and Uncle Merrill along with 10 cousins and their respective spouses.  I would have loved to be there.  Aunt Cile, I promise to make your next party.  And Happy 90th Birthday.

And that's not all!  Next weekend is cousin, Jo Beverly Lambert-Eddins, 90th birthday in Shreveport and I am going to drive over there for that celebration (if all goes well).  It is a 5 or 6 hour drive and I plan to be gone only a few days.  Sister Mary (from Hawaii) is flying here this weekend and will be with Aunt Louise while I am gone--although Aunt Louise is doing very well on her own. (These 90-year-olds are such party animals they are wearing me out.)

And finally, an update on Aunt Louise:  The therapist has taken her off pureed foods and we went to the dining room for dinner tonight.  It was just great for her to have a real meal for a change.  She is settling into the apartment and has had a few visitors so life is good.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bletchley Park, England

Ron here with a guest post on Mom's blog. I am working in London, England right now. I had a Sunday free so I decided to go see Bletchley Park, about an hour northwest of London. I've wanted to see this for years. I would not be surprised if you have never heard of it. It is fairly new as a publicly accessible museum.
The Original Mansion
Bletchley Park was the central site of the United Kingdom's Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which during the Second World War regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. The official historian of World War II British Intelligence has written that the "Ultra" intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and that without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain.

This place was the was similar to Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico during WWII, which produced the atomic bomb. Except at Bletchley, the British managed to decipher Axis signals. Most significantly, they used the best minds in the UK to break the German Enigma machine. This signals encryption machine was thought by the Germans to be unbreakable. They were wrong.

At Bletchley, the UK gathered the best minds in the country, swore them to top secrecy, and let them apply their genius on breaking the signals of the Germans, Japanese, and Italians. Most of the people that worked there never spoke to anyone of their service. They were not allowed to. It wasn't until the last 20 years that this place became declassified.

What came out of Bletchley Park, thanks to the efforts of Alan Turing, was the world's first electronic programmable computers.  Turning had figured out how to use the brute strength of computers to implement methods and algorithms of his design to turn the art of cryptology into in industrial scale that allowed the Allies to read the German war plans in almost real time by D-Day.

This place is also the birth of the modern computer. Everything done by computers today, including the one you are using to read this post, started here.

The most famous person associated with Bletchley Park is Alan Turing. He was a young math genius from Cambridge. He came up with the methods that cracked Enigma, and exploited the weaknesses in how the Germans implemented it. He also founded the theories that the modern computer systems are built in. He died of suicide at age 41, after the war. He was eccentric, and he was also gay, which at the time was illegal. After the war he was prosecuted for being homosexual and sentenced to chemical castration. He did the castration, but his criminal conviction lost him his security credentials and his job. His life and reputation was destroyed, so he drank cyanide.

Turing's Office
It is tragic that the one man who almost single handily gave the Allies a strategic advantage over Germany and Japan, who was trusted with Britain's most closely guarded military secret, and who saved thousands and thousands of lives and altered the course of history was treated like this. He could never speak of his service. And he never did. It really wasn't until the 1990's that the truth came out. It wasn't until 2013 that he was formally pardoned and his named cleared.

Statue of Alan Turing at the museum
A note from Google on why Bletchley Park matters
So that's the background. Now Bletchley Park is a museum dedicated to the work they did here. After WWII all of the computers they built were ordered destroyed, and the facility fell into disrepair. It wasn't until recent history and the efforts and the American and British computer industry that it was restored. Many American IT and Internet firms, such as Google, have helped out with large donations to get the project going.

Sorry about the shadow. My flash isn't strong enough to cancel it out.
I hope this doesn't bore you. I find it fascinating. It serves as an excellent illustration of the fragility of data systems and how seeming small errors can be exploited as major flaws. At the museum, they give examples of this.

They tell the story of one bored German Enigma operator who accidental gave Blechley the breakthrough they needed to crack Germany's newer, most secure, Enigma machines. The German, for reasons unknown, send an encrypted message of nothing but the letter "L". He was probably testing it, or training. But this mistake allowed the British to construct the encryption key used, and from that, reverse engineer the new Enigma. Once they did that, they were able to build specialized computers called "Bombes" designed by Turing to decrypt the German signals.

Other mistakes that were exploited by Bletchley were panicked German officers who send the same message over two or more systems. They would send the message over a less secure, compromised, network. That would give Bletchley the clear text which allowed them to construct that day's encryption key. That in turn would let them read all of the German signals that day.

It was small errors like this that they learned to exploit, day in and day out, for years. They learned how certain German operators likes to use their girlfriend's name, or a German swear word, as the initial Enigma settings. Or how certain German officers also used the same greeting in all of their messages. These little mistake would reduce the effectiveness of their encryption by orders of magnitude, allowing them to decode them in almost real time.

They have a collection of Enigma machines on site. I've only seen one before, owned by the NSA. They were recruiting at an event I was attended and they had in their booth to get curious people like to me stop by and talk to them.

The museum also has a collection of Enigma Machines.
They have rebuilt one of the Bombe's
If you find yourself in the UK and have a day free, I recommend that you stop by and visit. I think it is worth it.