Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Neighbors-The Hawks

I got up early this morning to go to my Weight Watchers meeting.  On the way home, I saw two big birds in the street.  I figured they were crows.  One sees them commonly enough in the street scavenging dead carcasses and such.  As I drove past, I noticed white chests and thought to myself, "Whoa--those are not crows!"  I turned around and tried to take some pictures but one of them flew off and the other had its back to me.  Plus it was hard getting a photo on my cellphone.  So I went home and walked around the corner with my camera to see if I could find them.  I found this guy flying up into a tree.

Bill and I left for awhile and on our way home, we found other neighbors trying to get pictures of them up in a tree.  So I headed back around the corner and found this guy eating breakfast.  He or she was very busy looking for worms so it was a little hard getting a pictures but I managed a few really good ones.  It was catching a lot of worms but I would imagine that it takes a lot of worms to fill up a bird of that size.

One of the neighbors say me taking pictures and came to talk to me.  The nest was in a tree in his yard so he showed me where the other hawk was and where the nest was.  This fellow kept an eye on me because when I started working my way closer to the one under the tree, it flew over me and into the tree above the other one.

It has been a wonderful distraction today to look for these birds of prey.  Our next door neighbors have three chickens in their backyard so I've been thinking that maybe they shouldn't let them loose in the backyard with these two living right across the street from them.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

4th of July on Opposite Sides of the World

Tom deployed to the Middle East a couple weeks ago.  He spend his 4th of July working.  He called it delivering freedom. But it was fun to see this photo of him on Facebook as we were waiting for the fireworks to start.
Maddy drove from Kansas to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to spend time with her sister for the 4th.  They had a great time exploring and talking wedding plans.

We had a nice, relaxing day.  Bill, Chris and I headed to the Fort in the morning so I could see the Sing 4th competition.  I make sure to go every year because I enjoy it so much.  The girl that won this year sang "Morning Person" from the movie "Shrek".  She had a really sweet routine with props of a deer and birds to complete her performance.  I always enjoy hearing "The Girl in 14G" and the girl who sang that won 2nd place.  It always amazes me how anyone can pull off that song with all the changes in genre throughout.

We made a stop at the Pearson Air Museum.  Very disappointing.  We haven't been there since the Trust was evicted and took almost all the planes with them.  There is still only the two planes that the Trust wasn't able to get out in time.  And all the old displays of explanation along the walls that they weren't able to remove in time.  But otherwise there is almost nothing there anymore.  The only really cool thing that they had was a diorama  for the WWI era Spruce Mill that a dentist in town is putting together.  The Park Service claims they are working on getting more planes but nothing yet.  Hard to even call it an air museum when that really isn't what it is anymore.

We came home to watch "Harry Potter".  Bill's goal is to see all the Harry Potter movies in order.  So we have seen three in the last couple of weeks.  And I am sure more are on their way.  Then to Grandma's to have a little picnic at her house.

It is always a debate as to whether we want to go to the Fort to see the fireworks.  It is always so crowded and takes so long to get home afterward because of the traffic.  So really hard to get excited about it when you have to go to work the next day.  But since the 4th was on a Friday, we decided to go.

This is the first year that we have gotten a pass to park at the airport.  I guess they always made it such a hassle to get in the past that Bill never pursued it before.  But this year, they automatically sent them out so we took advantage of it.  And we really like having it.  We had a safe place to park for when we went to the Fort in the morning.  We came and went a few times because we forgot to take jackets in the evening so Bill even left about an hour before the fireworks so he could get a couple of sweatshirts at Fred Meyers when we got a little chilled.
We hung out at the hangar about three hours waiting for the fireworks to start.  Chris wanted to go back to the Fort and see if he could find any friends to hang out with.  So we obliged and went early in the evening for him.  Enjoyed drinking some wine and beer and doing some reading and people watching at the airport while we waited.  We moved to the taxiway when the time got closer so we had an unobstructed view.  The fireworks were wonderful although a lot shorter than it used to be in years past.  But 40 minutes was always a long time to watch in the past so 20 minutes seemed just right.  We were a little alarmed in the middle of the show.  Several grass fires started and the fire was going pretty well by the time the show ended.  We didn't stick around to see them putting it out.  We wanted to get out of the airport and on our way home.  Bill flew some passengers the day after and they said that the ground was pretty well charred.

A relatively quiet (other than firecrackers and fireworks), relaxing way to celebrate our nation's birth.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Brother Visit

Chuck came to visit us last weekend.  It is always a fun time when he comes.  Bill always wants to figure out new places to take him.  It has been a long time since they had been to Carson Hot Springs for a soak and massage.  And Carson Hot Springs has recently reopened after being closed for awhile so that was the first stop.  I am not that into getting a massage and I get bored sitting in a bathtub for a half hour to hour so I opted out.  I went for a little hike up the hill and found some of the pump houses for the spa.  And I took a book to read for the rest of the time while I waited.

A trip to Stevenson almost always includes eating lunch at the Big River Grill.  Bill loves their portobello mushroom salad and everything else there is good too.

From there we drove to Hood River and visited the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum.  Bill and I had been there a few years ago but Chuck hadn't been there before.  And they had expanded the museum since we were there last.  It was fun to see all the old planes, cars, motorcycles, jeeps, etc.

Chuck enjoys visiting with Cindy on his visits so we invited Jim and Cindy over for some Thai food.  Unusual that we see her two weekends in a row.  But very enjoyable evening seeing them again.

On Sunday we went to church as a family and had some bagels.  Then we headed downtown to take Chuck to the new East Fork Winery location at the Slocum House.  Then to the new Gouger Winery location in Ridgefield.  It was Chuck's first visit to both of the new locations although he had been to both wineries at their old locations.  It was the first time that Bill and I took advantage of going up onto the roof patio at Gouger to enjoy the scenery from up there.  We got to watch the newly shorn alpacas and see Mt. St. Helens in the distance.  It wasn't too hot so it was a really pleasant afternoon enjoying a couple glasses of wine up there.  We weren't quite ready to head back home so we stopped at Bethany Winery and Northwest Best Fish Market as well.  We love the smoked halibut spread that they sell there so we always pick some up if we are in the area.  Bill picked up the crab and artichoke dip this time too.  Absolutely wonderful.

So as with any visit from Chuck--we ate a lot.  We drank our fair share of wine.  And we did a bit of touring.  But it was a really fun visit.

Father's Day Celebration

Christopher arrived home from Bellingham in time to celebrate Father's Day with Bill.  It is fun having him back home.  Definitely not as quiet as it has been.  But he is working full time at his church for the summer as a custodian so that is keeping him occupied.
We had a very special celebration on Father's Day though.  Bill's friend from his West Point and early Army days, Sean Ryan, called and wanted to visit with us.  He is currently at JBLM teaching a four week class.  His wife, Lei who also graduated from West Point in 1984, flew up to Washington for the weekend and came down with him.  Sean and Bill fenced together at West Point which is how they met.  Colonel Frederick was the officer that was in charge of the fencing team and his daughter, Cindy, wanted to learn how to fence so Bill and Sean adopted her as their little sister and taught her how to fence.  We invited Jonathan, Jim and Cindy to join us for dinner so that they could have a mini-West Point Fencing reunion.  The last time we saw Sean and Lei was seven years ago and only briefly--about a half hour.  I think it has been about 20 years since we saw him before that so it was wonderful to reconnect with an old friend.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

And she said... "Yes!"

Tom proposed to Maddy Thursday night.  They called us right away because they were so excited.  Tom really surprised me as well.  I had always thought he would go the traditional diamond route.  I never imagined anything different than that.  But he had the ring custom designed in Ellensburg and chose an Ellensburg Blue Agate to be the centerstone.  He had been thinking about it for sometime--ever since he lived in Ellensburg.  I had heard of it I guess.  We had gone to the Kittitas historical museum once and they had a rock collection there.  But I guess it didn't make much of an impression as to how they are so popular in that area and that there are several gem and jewelry dealers that sell them.

The Ellensburg Blue Agate is actually a really rare stone that is only found in Kittitas County, Washington.  People go searching in fields there to see if they can find the rocks as they are so valuable. As I was researching it, Indians also made arrowheads from them.  It is the perfect ring for them as a couple as they met and went to school there.  So proud of him for picking something so unique and romantic to give his fiance.  And I am gaining a daughter.  Very exciting times ahead!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Glamorous Gams 2

After six months of fundraising, putting together videos, practicing singing and dance routines, the big day finally arrived. Bill had to stay behind the scenes since he was in "jail".  And they played this video as their entrance for their performance.  They did a great job singing and dancing to "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" from the Blues Brothers movie.  Shannon Roberts was a life saver being the real talent since Bill and Jim don't really sing very well.  And the kids from Groove Nation did a great job with their dance routine to back them up.

There were 8 other teams competing and the mayor and a few others were added in for time fillers while waiting for the tallying and announcement of the winner of the Golden Gam.  All the teams did such a good job with their performances and their fundraising.  It was a really fun evening and over $197,000 was raised for the Children's Center.  Such a great response from the community to support the mental health care of the children of Clark County.

Happenings Outside of the Northwest

My family in Wisconsin went to see the Blue Angels perform in La Crosse at the Deke Slayton Airfest.  Fun to see these pictures of them having been to Pensacola not too long ago.  Unfortunately, we were only able to see them takeoff and not perform.  And see a couple of them eating lunch at the O Club while we were there.  So I am a little bit jealous.

Maddy celebrated her birthday in Wichita over the weekend.  Unfortunately, Tom has been on TDY and wasn't able to be there with her but she had a great weekend with friends going to a Wichita Wingnuts game, going to Lake Afton and having a barbeque at their home.  Happy 24th Birthday Maddy!