Saturday, November 21, 2015

North to Alaska

Went to Alaska for the first time this week.  I have wanted to go to Alaska for a very long time.  Bill and I had made plans to go to Anchorage and Denali shortly after we got married but those plans fell through when I got orders to move to Massachusetts so Bill help me move across the country instead going on our vacation.  I have also wanted to do an Alaska cruise for a long time but it just never seems to work out to do it.  This week I got to see one stop on the Alaska cruise itinerary anyway.  I went to Ketchikan for work.

It was a really quick trip.  I was only there for 36 hours.  And in meetings the whole full day that I was there.  With it being late fall/winter, there isn't a whole lot of daylight this time of year either.  My only real chance to see the town in daylight was when we went out for lunch.

My flight from Portland to Seattle was exciting.  The weather and winds in Portland and Seattle were pretty bad.  Almost the whole flight was bumpy--just a few minutes of relatively calm conditions when we got above the weather.  The pilots really earned their pay that day.  I was so glad to get on the ground.  I don't know how they landed without us flipping over.  We landed on one tire first, bounced and then finally landed.  And the wind was blowing so hard, the plane was shaking.  Even loading onto the 737 to go to Ketchikan--the plane was shaking from the wind.

Flying into Ketchikan--it was already after sunset but it was just light enough for me to see all the islands and mountains and how incredibly beautiful it is up there.  I love flying over the San Juan Islands.  Flying over the islands of B.C. and Alaska was just like that only 10 times or maybe even 100 times more beautiful.  Made me want to take that cruise all the more.  Some day.  The airport itself is on an island across from the town of Ketchikan.  So you have to take a ferry to get across to town.

Checked into my motel and linked up with the rest of my team and we went out to dinner at Bar Harbor.  It was snowing while we were eating dinner so that was fun to see.  But it didn't last long.  In the morning, I took a walk hoping to get some pictures before I went to my meetings at the hospital.  But it was still too dark for that.  It has snowed a little bit--just about 1/2" but enough to make it a little slippery.  I was glad I had taken my snow boots with me.

It was fun going to the hospital to meet some of the nurses and techs there.  I actually got to go into the OR for a bit.  Haven't done that in a really long time.

We went downtown to Annabelle's for lunch and the sun was out.  I am told that this is really unusual to see the sun there but I took advantage of it and while I was waiting for my lunch--I went across the street to take a few pictures.  Annabelle's is a cute little spot to eat.  It is located in a hotel that was built in 1927 so it has the tin and stained glass ceilings that are so great about that era.

By the time I got out of meetings again that night, it was dark.  After a big lunch and leftovers from the night before to eat, I didn't want to go out to dinner but the hotel had a manager's reception and nine of us from the team ended up going to that to have some wine and snacks.  And a few got dinner.

Up bright and early in the morning to catch the ferry back to the airport to get home.  And the sun came out again and was beautiful to see the mountains next to the runway catching the glint of the sun.

Flying home from Seattle, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen's looked so beautiful with their new coats of snow.  I worked on this layout for a storytelling challenge.  Thought it would be a good choice and tell the Klicktat story of the Bridge of the Gods, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.

I think I am home for awhile now.  But will probably have more trips to Bellingham and Ketchikan over the next several months to get ready for their software go-live.  Glad to have made my first trip to Alaska but definitely has given me a taste of wanting to see more.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Veterans Day Celebrations

The Vancouver Veterans Day Parade was last Saturday.  I debated going.  The forecast was for rain but when I left home, it wasn't raining yet buit by the time I got downtown it was.  I decided to go anyway.  I didn't stay for the whole two hours but probably an hour and a half.  This year was the first year that they had the "Run to Remember" which kicked off right at 1100 when they fired off the cannon.  The Air Force started off the actual parade.

Always sad to see the Gold Star families holding the banner for their loved one that died in the war.

Junior ROTC.

Lewis and Clark Young Marines 

A WWII and Korean war vet

More vets 

I think just about every Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops marches in the parade every year--rain or shine.

The 1st Oregon

I got soaked even spending a portion of the parade on the porch at the Grant House.  But it always feels good to go to honor the veterans.

Our friends, Jeff and Julie, had their annual Veterans Day dinner last night at Willamette View--where Jeff's parents live now.  This is the 14th year that they have treated their veteran friends to dinner.  Our group has gotten smaller over the year as our friends die or get old enough that they aren't able to make it anymore.  But it is always nice of them to host dinner for us every year.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Army-Air Force Game

Graham is in his first year at the Air Force Academy.  It was painful to put "Go Air Force Beat Army" on this layout.  Bill went to West Point and we were both in the Army.  We always cheer for Army--definitely not Air Force.  Sherrill sent this picture of Graham saying that this was a picture of him coming off the field after doing push-ups after one of the Air Force scores.  In typical fashion, Air Force beat Army--again.  The score was 20-3.  Fun to see pictures of him as a cadet though.

Vancouver Rotary Festival of Trees 2015

The judging for the Festival of Trees took place last weekend at Divine Consign.  Bill's contribution to the FOT is organizing the judging and they had a bit of a reception for the Rotarians to come to pick the Rotarians' Choice Award as well.  There were at least four trees that had fun birds and animals in them.  I enjoyed all the trees but these little critters captured my heart.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Saints Day

I'm not big into celebrating Halloween anymore.  Especially now that the boys are grown.  We actually try to go out to dinner during trick or treat time--at least a portion of it.  It was such a rainy day that we actually didn't get any trick or treaters last night.  At least while we were home.  Pouring down rain does not make for a fun Halloween experience going house to house.  Interestingly enough, I do enjoy all the costume pictures I have seen on Facebook this year.  Especially when they are really clever unusual costumes.

Something I really used to enjoy doing with the boys at Halloween was to go to Ghost Stories at Officers Row.  They don't have it anymore but there were always wonderful vignettes about the history of Officers Row or Vancouver.

On the new scrapbooking site that I have been frequenting, there was a scraplift challenge yesterday.  I picked a layout that a woman from Wisconsin did of old work crew photos.  I loved the layout when I saw it back in August and I used that as a stepping stone to redoing this layout of Tunnel City.

So my Halloween contribution to this year is bringing these "ghosts" back to life by scrapbooking them.  I never got to meet any of these great and great great grandparents of mine.  They were gone long before I was born.  But Tunnel City has always been a fascinating place to me.  A place where family has lived for three generations.  A place that used to have two railroad tunnels and still has one after one of them collapsed.  One of the things my mom liked to do when one of her friends came back to Wisconsin from Washington, D.C. was walk through the tunnels.  Totally a bad idea from a safety standpoint with a bunch of children along.  And I think there are signs warning against it.  But it was always a fun adventure when we did that.

So scrapbooking these photos were the way I celebrated my Halloween this year.  I hope you all had a terrific weekend celebrating the holiday in whatever way was enjoyable for you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Bark If You Are a Packer Football Fan

Maddy is a recent convert to football.  Tom has turned her onto the Packers and the dogs have gotten into the action too.  Ariel had a scarf that she wore.  Marian bought her a sweater for Christmas last year.  Sadie is joining in on the fun this year.  Maddy and the dogs participated in the Spooky Scram on base last week.  They did the 1 mile run and won the female costume contest with Maddy dressed up as Jordy Nelson, Sadie as a rufferee and Ariel as a football.  Super cute and clever.  GO PACK GO!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nursing School Revisited

A couple months ago, Dad mentioned that Sherrill was interested in going to the UW-Eau Claire Nursing School 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration.  I mentioned it to Bill and he encouraged me to go too.  Neither of us wanted to go if the other didn't so we were happy that we had each other to go with.  I hadn't been back to Eau Claire in six years.  Sherrill hadn't been there in longer than that.  And we have never been there together since I graduated 31 years ago or gone to any of the nursing alumni activities.  So we were looking forward to seeing and spending time with each other and reminisce.

I flew into Eau Claire and got there a day before Sherrill did.  So I rented a car and drove down to Tomah for the day.  I made stops at a couple of cemeteries to pay my respects.  Unfortunately it was raining pretty hard and I didn't really feel like doing much wandering to find everyone like I normally do.  I didn't have that much time and wanted to get to Dad's house as soon as I could as well.

Visited with Dad for a bit and then went to lunch at the Chinese restaurant in town with Dane, Dad and Shirley.  Aunty Karen and Uncle Ray wanted to see me so they came over to Dad's in the afternoon.  They brought Kendall with them and we went to pick up Lacie at school.  Went down to see Darren and Tess and Mandy and Mallory in the late afternoon.  I had to see the new rabbits and was surprised to learn there were two guinea pigs and a hamster to add to the mix as well.  Had a quick supper with Dad and Shirley before heading back to Eau Claire so I could pick Sherrill up at the airport.

Sherrill and I spent the day walking around campus a little bit on Friday.  Went to the bookstore to get some new Blugold attire to wear to the football game, explored the new Davies Student Center which was pretty impressive and went downtown to see what was new there.  We walked along a new little park there which was fun.  And went to the mall to do some Packer shopping.

We also had lunch with Mary Falkner and Tammy Falkner Eckhart and one of her sons.  It was a lot of fun to have lunch with them and catch up.  It had been five years since we had gone to the Falkner reunion they hosted in Hatfield and seen them there.

Friday night was the Nursing Gala.  It was pretty well attended but most of the alumni that were there were either older or younger than us.  I was disappointed because I was hoping maybe someone from our classes would be there.  Although it was a little hard to tell who might have gone to school with us.  Appearances do change after 30 years and there were quite a few people there.  I haven't kept in contact with anyone that I went to nursing school with so I was really hoping I would at least see one person I knew.  But we saw a few of our instructors and enjoyed hearing some of the stories of the past 50 years.  There were alumni and instructors there from all five decades.  We left as soon as the program was done since we didn't really have anyone to catch up with and wanted to rest up for our big Saturday.

Some of the pictures from the University were from Friday and some from Saturday.  We went out onto the bridge for a little bit to take pictures of the river and of the campus from that perspective.

 There were a few beautifully colored trees to look at.

After the Nursing Walk, we had breakfast in the school of nursing and had tours.  Sherrill was especially interested in seeing the simulation labs.  Part of her job at Wright State was working with the simulation labs there.  Certainly different than what we had available 30 years ago.

It was so sad when the Council Oak came down during a storm in 1987.  That tree had a lot of meaning for the University and the School of Nursing.  It is on the seal of the university and on our nursing pins.  It is also where the nursing students hung their uniforms during graduation week.  It was wonderful that they planted a new tree to replace the old one.  After dedicating the tree and promising to protect it for seven generations (or 300 years), it was almost taken out to put in the new Davies Center.  The nursing school protested and said they couldn't remove it so they had to go back to the drawing board and move the Davies Center by a few feet so that the tree could be saved.

Putnam Hall is where I lived for three years.  Sherrill also lived there three years.  We lived two doors from each other for two of those years.  What I liked about being in Putnam was being a lot closer to classes than those that stayed in the dorms on the Hill.  I really liked not having to climb the Hill every day.  And I loved having my sister live nearby.

Sherrill and I went out on Putnam Rock to take a few pictures.  I love watching the water go by and feeling like you are really a part of the river when you are on it.

Everyone but Tess was able to come up to Eau Claire to see us.  We had lunch at a pub before going to the homecoming game.  There was a lot of great Packer decorations and Sherrill wanted a picture taken with the Spotted Cow sign.  The girls didn't want to go to the football game so they went shopping at the mall instead.  

It was the first time in five years that all of us were together.  So we had to take a picture.

And got one of Dad and Shirley too.

Eau Claire's football team hadn't won any games yet.  In fact, they lost by a lot in most of their games.  But they held their own against River Falls in the homecoming game.  The offense struggled and gave up four turnovers but the defense played really well and kept the team in the game until the very last seconds and only lost by a score of 10-7.  We really enjoyed the band performance.  They are big--like 350 members.  And they put on a really good half time show.  We even saw them marching on campus after the game.  

So it was a quick trip.  And didn't get to see everyone I would have loved to see.  But I enjoyed hanging out with my sister and my family for the time I was there which was wonderful.