Thursday, June 21, 2018

Run to Remember

Bill signed up to run a half marathon in the Run to Remember in Washougal.  He convinced me to sign up for the 5K.  I have not run more than a block or two in nearly 30 years so I had no intention of even trying to run.  I got caught up in the moment and actually did try to run.  I maybe ran half the distance--on and off.  It was the first time Bill had run a half marathon.  He has walked in one before but not run.  He actually made it the whole distance without needing to walk.  We did 22 pushups for every veteran who commits suicide every day.  It was sobering to run past all the signs and flags showing those who were killed in action or died as a result of PTSD after returning home. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Royal Wedding

I love watching royal weddings.  I have been watching them since Princess Anne got married in 1973.  Mom let us get up at at three in the morning to watch the television coverage.   I have gotten up early to watch every single one since then.  I love all the pageantry and traditions.  I had actually not intended to get up at two in the morning to watch the coverage.  Now that we have a DVR, I taped it and was going to watch it at a more civilized hour but I couldn't sleep so I got up to watch it live after all.  I wasn't disappointed.  It was beautiful.  It was a blend of African American culture with the traditional Anglican royal wedding.  In some ways, it was great even if it seemed a little out of place.  The homily definitely put me off.  While talking about love is great for a wedding, bringing the pastor's social agenda into the context of a royal wedding didn't seem appropriate.  It wasn't that I didn't think it was a good sermon.  Definitely wouldn't have been put off if I heard it in church on a Sunday.  Just seemed wrong for the wedding--any wedding.  Happy to have gotten my royal wedding fix.  Best wishes to Prince Harry and Meghan.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Mother's Day

It was just me and Bill last year for Mother's Day.  This year I was in Florida but made it home at 0400 in the morning from taking a red eye flight to celebrate Mother's Day.  Chris came home so that made it special for me.  I missed having Tom with me but we got to talk on Saturday afternoon (it was already Mother's Day in Qatar).  He wasn't sure if he was going to have to work so he made sure he called me when he was able to.  I was also shocked to get a huge bouquet of flowers delivered.  No one was home at the time they were delivered so the florist called me.  She was just as surprised to learn that I was in Florida.  I assured her my husband would get them and I would be home soon to enjoy them.  I was thinking they were probably from Bill but they were from Tom.  Such a nice surprise and they have brightened my day for two weeks now.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Disney Experience

My friend, Krystal, has been wanting me to come down to Orlando for years to visit her.  I kept thinking there would eventually be a conference for me to go to there for me to combine business and pleasure.  That time finally came when ANIA (American Nursing Informatics Association) had it's conference at the Lake Buena Vista Hilton Palace Hotel.  I flew down on a Tuesday and was able to spend a lovely evening with her at a favorite Asian/Mexican fusion place for tacos and drink sangria by her pool.  So good to see her and catch up.  The next day was all about Disney.

Krystal gave me my choice of parks to go to on our one full day together.  I hadn't been to either Disney World or Disneyland since I was dating and first got married so it has been over 30 years.  Bill and I went to Epcot before we got married and we went to Disneyland with my sister when we were newlyweds.  Given that I had already been to Epcot which was fabulous and probably worth revisiting, had been to Disneyland which in my eyes is probably akin to the Magic Kingdom, and had recently been to an African safari type experience in California last year, I chose Hollywood Studios.  It was a great day.  I think my only regret is that it wasn't more about the "Mouse".  We had a great day going to all kinds of shows including Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Frozen Singalong, and the final nighttime show, Fantasma.  We tried to get into the Toy Story show but the wait was longer than we wanted to endure.  We only went on one ride-Tower of Terror.  I'm not into rides so that was enough for me.  Lots of screaming on all those drops.

I think my favorite show of them all was the Beauty and the Beast one.  I love the music and the show, costuming and choreography were fabulous.

Indiana Jones was a close second.  The stunts, fires and explosions that they had on the set to show us how it is all done in the movies were pretty amazing.

There were Star Wars parades and shows all day long as well as a big exhibit that you could go get your photo take with various characters.  We didn't purchase the photos but I got a big hug and photos taken with Chewbacca.

Thursday morning, Krystal took me back to Disney to my hotel for the conference.  I got three days of continuing education in the process and got to meet Dr. Mickey and Nurse Minnie to have my picture taken with the "mice".  Totally made up for not going to Magic Kingdom.  Every night I went to Disney Springs to eat dinner or just walk around and people watch.  Lots going on there even though it isn't an official park.

All in all-it was a great five days to spend some girl time with one of my best friends and do some networking and get educated.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Family Time

Tom was able to wrangle a week and a half of leave to come home for a visit.  He was recently in Tacoma for two weeks working, went back to Wichita for a few days and then flew here.  It is our first time seeing him since the divorce.  It is bittersweet.  Love having my time with him these days but know that if it wasn't for the fact that he is divorced, I wouldn't be seeing him.  He would be with his wife instead.  He has missed Washington so he has been grateful to have spent the last four weeks here between work and vacation.

I was on call and worked the first few days he was home but took a week off so that I could spend time with him.  We drove up to Bellingham the first weekend so that we could spend time with Chris.  While we waited for Chris to get off work, Tom and I wandered about town going to the WWU campus and Whatcom Falls.  He has been there a couple times before but only for brief visits and those were two spots we hadn't taken him to before.   After Chris got off work, we went out for sushi and went to see "Ready Player One" at the theater.  It was so good to have our whole family together for an evening of fun.

Bill had recently come across a website article about a kangaroo farm about an hour from Bellingham.  He and I had seen kangaroos in a similar setting on our honeymoon so it was something I was really looking forward to doing and Christopher was pretty excited about it too.  Unfortunately, it was pouring down rain when we went Sunday morning on the way home but we decided to go ahead with it anyway.  It was pretty darn cold, wet and muddy there.  Bill and I had such a good experience in Australia.  Our host took us to buy sticky buns before we went to the nursery where the kangaroos and wallabies were located.  They flocked to us wanting the food.  One fella kept clawing at me after I ran out because he wanted more.  The ones at the Outback Kangaroo Farm in Arlington are a little more skittish.  Most of them ran off if we tried to get close.  Tom and Chris were able to pet a couple of them though.

Monday was the only nice day we had while I was on vacation.  Tom and I headed to some trails near us that he had never been on.  I love it there but don't go very often.  We saw all three waterfalls at the Round Lake Park trails and lots of wildflowers.  Unfortunately it was a little too early to see the camas lily field in bloom but we saw a couple of early bloomers.

The only other day we did much of anything during the week was on Thursday.  The original plan was to go hiking at Silver Falls but we saw that snow was predicted so we nixed that and stayed in our backyard to hike in north Clark County at Moulton Falls and Lucia Falls Parks.  I'm a fair weather hiker so I had my umbrella with me--not that I hardly ever carry on any other time- but I was glad to have it when it started pouring down rain.

The rest of the week Tom just wanted to rest, play games, watch TV and movies, etc. He also connected with a couple of his friends here which was nice.  He was pretty exhausted from the exercise he just finished in Tacoma. 

Our last hurrah was to go see my friends in Puyallup.  Tom was up for going with me and seemed to enjoy visiting with them.  We had wanted to go to Northwest Trek with them but it was pouring down rain again/still.  We thought it would be pretty miserable to go so we just went bowling at the McChord AFB which was fun.  I hadn't done that in a long time.  I'm not a good bowler--in fact none of us are--but we had a good time anyway.

Always hard to say goodbye but hoping we can see each other again this summer.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

On the Streets of San Francisco

Bill went to the Bay Area to see his brother and go to a virtual reality and gaming conference at the Moscone Center.  He wanted me to go with him but work prevented me from going the whole week.  I joined him midway through to spend some time in the city and see Chuck for the first time since he became ill in October.  It was good to get away for a few days.

My goal for the trip was to take photos of all the iconic locations in the city.  I was trying to figure out how I was going to go about doing that when I discovered the Hop On Hop Off bus options for touring the city.  It actually worked out pretty well.  I didn't spend any great amount of time at any one location-an hour or so at the most-but got photos of most of the things that I wanted to capture so I was very pleased with myself. 

We stayed at the King George Hotel near Union Square.  It was a quaint small hotel with a British theme that has been newly renovated.  It was interesting to have two twin beds.  Bill and I felt like we were in the 50's.  On Thursday, I was itching to get started.  The buses didn't start until 0900 at Union Square but I was ready to go at 0745 so I started out walking.  I think that was the most miles and "flights of stairs" (climbing all those hills) that I have ever done-20,000 steps and 90 flights for the day.  I walked an hour and a half before I even got on the bus. While I was walking, I hit Chinatown and the Chinatown Dragon Gate.  I have been there many times over the years but always feel the need to stop there if I can.  Lombard Street-the crooked street-was next on my list.  I had to use my GPS to find my way there.  Sherrill and I went there over 30 years ago and I was looking forward to seeing it again.  Unfortunately I was a little disappointed because it was probably a little bit too early in the season.  None of the bushes were flowering as I remembered it from my last visit.  Once I found the closest bus stop for the HOHO bus, I was on my way to more adventures.  First stop was the Golden Gate Bridge.  It had been sprinkling as I was walking and got to the bridge.  I was a little disappointed as it was all fogged in although the bridge is beautiful any way you see it.  While I was waiting for the bus to go to Sausalito, it started pouring down rain sideways because there were 30 mph winds with it.  I was beginning to think I might need to bag my outing for the day.  All the buses were open air buses for the best viewing but the Sausalito bus was only open air with no available cover.  Luckily, I was the only passenger and the driver was kind enough to let me sit on the steps next to him under cover to get there.  Once I got to Sausalito, the sun came out much to my relief.  I had some breakfast and then hopped the next bus back to the bridge and got some great sunny photos.  I had never been to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies before so I was really excited to be able to do that.  I got some OK pictures but was disappointed so I decided to go back the next day to get better ones.  I was so cold sitting on the top of the bus and luckily I had my hood to try to keep my head as warm as possible--especially when we were driving on the freeway and across the bridge. As soon as I got back to Union Square, I got off the bus to get some more clothes on and then went to get back on and do some more exploring.  I didn't do too much that part of the route.  Just went to Fisherman's Wharf and back through to Union Square.

On Friday, I was a little short on time because Bill wanted to get going to Fremont before rush hour.  My first stop that day was the Palace of Fine Arts.  I had never been there before and found it so beautiful and a great place to take photos.  I saw some swans but just as I got set up to take some photos, they got out of the pool and went on to the wooded island.  In addition to returning to Alamo Square, I got out at Fisherman's Wharf to have lunch and go see Ghiradelli Square.  I got back to the hotel to leave just as Bill did and we headed to the BART station to go down to Fremont.

I had mixed results with the buses.  The pass that I bought was for two companies that had merged.  One company had audio recordings for the tour using ear phones but none of the drivers explained the channels or how they worked until the second day so that was a little disappointing.  The other company had live tour guides which was great except one of them kept asking for tips which was annoying.  The only other thing that was a little bit annoying was that sometimes I waited more than a half hour for the next bus to arrive.  It got me to where I wanted to go and wasn't very expensive.  I would say overall I was satisfied with the service.

We had a nice time visiting with Chuck and Suzanne.  We had a terrific old style Italian dinner in Fremont Friday night.  We tried to go to the Tech Museum of Innovation Saturday morning but wasn't able to get there because of the March for Our Lives demonstrations so we ended up going to Santana Row first to have brunch at the West Bank there and then went to the museum afterward.  Suzanne is a great cook and the two of us put together fish tacos for dinner.

Chuck and Suzanne dropped us off at the San Jose Airport and things seemed to go okay until we got to Portland and found that my bag didn't arrive.  We waited awhile and filed my claim thinking it would probably just come on the next flight from San Jose.  When my bag finally was delivered about 24 hours later, I found that it had been inspected in Kauai.  I did see that there was a flight to Lihue at our gate before our flight.  I guess my bag wanted a longer and more exotic vacation than just going to the Bay Area.

Definitely great to see the city again and see family.  Nice little getaway.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Gorgeous Spring Weekend

This weekend has been absolutely gorgeous.  I went to the fort to see if I could get any good photo ops.  I was pleased to see a plum tree in full bloom.  Crocuses and daffodils had already arrived but the plum blossoms always means spring has arrived for me.  I love the blue birds that I see down there.  I think they are called scrub jays if my internet search of photos were of any help.   

I did these two layouts for the color challenge and the blending challenge at Designer Digitals this weekend.  Now off to take another walk and see if I see anything else wonderful to shoot.