Saturday, April 19, 2014

What a beautiful day!

As I write this, it is raining.  But last Sunday was the perfect day.  Absolutely gorgeous and sunny.  I decided not to waste it. 
The tulip festival was taking place in Woodland so I decided to go there and take some pictures.  I had tried to go once or twice in the past but went at the wrong time.  I was surprised at the number of varieties they had in their show garden.  As you can tell, I mostly favored the pink and purple ones based on the photos I took but there were ones of every color, pointy ones, furry looking ones.  It was pretty amazing.

After I left the tulip farm, I thought that it was much too nice of a day to just go back home.  Since I was in the area, I went to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge to take some photos as well.  I have only been there one other time and the weather was kind of crappy.  It was a perfect day to take photos so I am so glad I went. 
I made two trips around the loop drive to try to catch things I might have missed the first time around. Glad I did as I got some great photos the second time around.  A heron flew right up next to me so I got several close ups of it.  Got some great turtle photos.  Closer pictures of an egret.  And a better sandpiper picture than I had the first time around.  I spent most of my time trying to capture the big birds--a couple of great blue herons and a couple of egrets.  But I got a few other pictures.  And saw more birds than I actually took pictures of.  I saw a bald eagle flying over me but impossible to take a picture of it.  Some day it would be great to get a photo of a bald eagle.  Love seeing them. 

So it was a pretty darn perfect day to be able to go on a photo expedition and get some pretty great photos to scrap.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Viva Las Vegas

I've been waiting to go to Las Vegas for some time now as neither Bill and I had ever been there before.  I found that there was going to be a nursing informatics conference there so I jumped on the chance to go.  We stayed at the Paris Las Vegas so we pretty much stayed in our "neighborhood" most of the time.  But Sunday morning before we checked out of the hotel, we ventured a little further out to check out a few more of the hotels. It was pretty overwhelming to see all those people in one place.  Reminded me of going to New York only on a smaller scale.  The density of people was pretty much the same though.  And of course, some of the attractions on the street were pretty interesting.  We did take a picture of Bill with a couple of showgirls on the street so that he could get a "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" kind of photo. 

We went with no real plan with what we were going to do while we were there other than that Bill wanted to see Hoover Dam at some point.  We ended up checking out what show tickets we could get discounted and decided on going to the L.A. Comedy Club show on Friday night and "Jersey Boys" on Saturday night.  The comedy show was pretty raunchy but that is really no surprise.  We enjoyed having someplace to go for entertainment that night though.  And the tickets were relatively reasonably priced.  I had to leave my conference a tad early to make the 5:00 start time for "Jersey Boys" but it was well worth it.  Loved the music and the production of the show.  Bill also likes to go to art museums and there was a "Painting Women" exhibit at the Bellagio that he went to see as well.

Bill took his trip to Hoover Dam on Saturday which took most of the day.  He enjoys looking at dams and other engineering structure so he had a great time.  Had he was happy to be out of the city and away from the Strip for awhile.

Getting back home was a little bit more tricky.  We actually had a little bit of a travel SNAFU going to Las Vegas as well.  We were in the San Francisco airport boarding our plane when they announced that we had to change planes.  So everyone had to get off the plane we were on, walk to the new gate, and wait almost an hour to board there so we arrived in Las Vegas a little later than we had planned.

On Sunday, we waited at the Las Vegas Airport for hours for our flight.  They kept posting delays.  The plane that we were waiting on had mechanical problems in San Francisco and took forever to get to Las Vegas.  We thought we had a long layover originally but as the flight kept getting delayed, we realized that we were going to miss our connecting flight to Portland.  We tried to get booked on other flights but there was nothing available until 9:00 p.m. the following night.  So we ended up spending 27 hours in San Francisco that we hadn't intended on doing and I missed work.  United did put us up in a hotel that night and gave us a little bit of money for food but we didn't have our luggage, toiletries or clothes to change into. 

Since we had an entire day in San Francisco, we thought we might as well take advantage of it.  We had the hotel take us to the airport so that we could catch BART to go downtown.  We had no real plan of what we wanted to do but thought we would do a walkabout.  We went to Embarcadero and walked around the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market for a little bit and then thought we would head up to Chinatown.  I have to tell you.  I do not like walking in San Francisco on a good day.  I don't do well with those hills between my asthma and not being in the best shape for climbing hills like that.  So it was a struggle for me.  Bill wanted to go to the Chinese Cultural Center.  We got there and it was closed.  So we went a few blocks more and did find that the Cable Car Museum was open so we went in there to see the displays for a bit which was interesting.

We talked about maybe taking a cable car ride but the tickets were pretty expensive and we were going to walk toward Fisherman's Wharf which was all downhill so decided to walk it.  Big mistake.  We didn't get very far before a thunderstorm rolled in and we were getting totally drenched.  And we were still a long way from the piers.  We were really looking forward to getting to Pier 39 so that we could maybe sit someplace inside, have a drink and maybe dry off a little.  No such luck.  The eateries at the pier had some covered areas for dining but they were not meant to withstand rain--only to keep the sun at bay.  Water was leaking everywhere under the covered areas.  By this time we were so miserable, we were ready to bag our San Francisco adventure and head back to the airport earlier than we had planned.  We were still a long way from the BART station though.  We tried to get a cab for awhile but folks kept getting in ahead of us.  So we tried to catch a trolley along the water front but had to walk a ways to get to the next station.  Finally managed to get on one and get to the BART station and back to the airport where we could buy some sweatshirts and try to dry off.  We were there six hours early for our flight so it was a long wait again.  Two very long days hanging out at airports was not fun.  And our flight back to Portland was late as well.  Par for the course.  So what we thought was serendipity ended up not being so fun. 

But we had a great time while we were in Vegas so that was something.  And we may go back again sometime.  Hopefully it will be a much better travel experience next time. 

Mission: Seattle

At Christmas time, Chris announced that he had decided to spend his spring break in Seattle on a mission trip.  The INN University Ministries had actually planned three mission trips during spring break--Haiti, Atlanta and Seattle.  Chris chose the least expensive option of going to Seattle.  They worked through an agency called Serve Seattle which is sponsored by the Union Gospel Mission.  They spent time in the kitchen at the Union Gospel Mission's men's shelter and went on Search and Rescue missions to look for homeless people on the streets and under bridges to give them food, blankets and to engage them in conversation to get to know them.  They also sang at the mission providing some worship time.

Christopher found it to be a fun experience getting to know some of his fellow WWU students better over the week.  He and the others also found it to be a moving and heartbreaking week learning more about what it is like to be homeless. While I missed being able to see Chris last week, I am so proud of him and the other students for being willing to put themselves out there to help others in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations.  He is much braver than I am to do this kind of work.  Thankfully they and others like them are willing to do God's work to help make the lives of others a little better.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Blues Brothers in the Couv Fun-draising for the Children's Center

Bill and Jim West had a few pre-Glamorous Gams fundraising events.  The Rock is sponsoring a drink called "Elwood Blues" and is donating a dollar for every drink ordered until May 31st.  They introduced it on Mardi Gras so Bill and Jim spent the evening there.  The Rock even sponsored a silent auction that night to benefit the Children's Center on their behalf.  Sheri McMillan, last year's winner, came out to support them and had fun. 

They had a three week long karaoke contest at the Asylum Lounge.  The owner loves to do karaoke and does a spot on performance of "Sweet Transvestite from Transylvania" from "Rocky Horror Picture Show".  We had a lot of fun with it and the winner is going to sing for/with them during the May 31st performance in the big Glamorous Gams event.  On the night of the finals, Seth Aaron Henderson of "Project Runway" fame showed up to cheer on his friend, Brett Allred.  Fun to have a celebrity show up for the event.  I sang a few times--haven't really sung in public for over ten years and my voice isn't what it used to be but I had a good time.

So now to get people to donate between now and the end of May.  If you read this and are interested in supporting Bill and Jim on their mission from God to raise money for the Children's Center--a mental health service here in Clark County--you can go to this site to donate.  Thanks for your help.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fun Weekend

Weather-wise, it was a glorious weekend.  Beautiful sunshiny days.  Beverly's 82nd birthday is this week so we decided to take her to the Grant House for dinner Saturday night.  We have other plans on her actual birthday so celebrated a bit early.  Had a wonderful meal as always and I love the historical ambiance there.

Bill flew on both Saturday and Sunday.  He took a couple around Mt. St. Helens on Saturday as one of his charity flights.  On Sunday we took our good friend, Jeanne, to Independence for breakfast/lunch.  Bill drew her name for his TARTL (Take a Rotarian to Lunch) partner.  Bill often offers to fly his TARTL partners to lunch so he calls them FARTLs (Fly a Rotarian to Lunch).  She was a little nervous about the flight even though she requested to fly specifically before Bill even suggested it.  So her husband gave her an umbrella to bring along as her parachute.  Bill's comment was "I'm more Top Gun than Mary Poppins".  So we had fun with that.  We had a great flight down to Independence and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast. 

So all in all--it was a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

OpTime Connected

This is a team photo that we finally were able to take this week.  We don't see each other very often.  About once a month recently but we are so busy that we usually don't think about getting a photo.  Half of us work in Eugene and half of us work in Vancouver so most of our communication is via Lync meetings or instant messaging.  It is a new world now that work is done remotely because of technological advances.  Some good and some bad to all that.  Face to face always seems to be the best but budgets don't allow for it.  So enjoyed our time together this week and will look forward to seeing each other in a few more weeks for the next big meeting.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Red Carpet Treatment in Vancouver

This was the second year that the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce has put on Vancouver Goes Hollywood at the Kiggins Theater.  We had fun going to it last year and decided to go again this year.  As with any version 2.0, they learned from last year and made some improvements to the process and the event.  This year the theme was the Great Gatsby so most people came dressed for the Roaring '20's.  Bill is trying to promote his Glamorous Gams campaign so he wore his Jake Blues costume but it was close enough to a '20s theme to work.  Fun way to watch the Oscars.