Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in the Hospital

Spending Christmas in the hospital wasn't the plan. When I scheduled my surgery for December 22nd, it was just supposed to be an overnight hospital visit. Two nights tops. But that wasn't in the cards. I had such bad nausea and we needed to get that under control or it would have damaged (and hopefully hasn't happened already) my hiatal hernia repair. When it became evident that I wasn't going to make it home Christmas morning, Bill, Tom, Chris and Beverly came to visit me and brought all the gifts to open there. There were some nice surprises. My friend, Annette, gave me the floral arrangement on the day that I had surgery. Sherrill sent me a care package with lots of liquid foods and magazines to entertain me in my convalescence. The boys bought me a book on their trip to Powell's.

Luckily I had all my shopping done before I went into the hospital. I gave Bev her photo album for the year. Some clothing for the boys including Bill. I got Tom one of his winter needs for Air Force ROTC--a liner for his ABU jacket. I also got him a flash light and a portable vacuum to keep in his room at school. We discovered he needed a flashlight when he ended up without electricity for several hours at school a few months ago. And given the condition of his room when I moved him out last spring, he needed the little vacuum. Chris really wanted a hydration back pack for when he goes hiking with Bill.

Although I wish I could have been at home sooner, I am glad I am back home now to start getting better in a more quiet environment.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Early Christmas

Since I am having surgery tomorrow, Beverly and Chuck graciously made a prime rib dinner for me tonight so that I could have an early Christmas celebration. I won't be able to eat any solid food for a few weeks at least so it was wonderful that we could celebrate tonight for me. And great that Chuck was here so that we could celebrate as a slightly larger family unit.

Wishing everyone a lovely Christmas holiday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Enjoy the Season

Between a very busy and not as successful as I would like software go-live at work and all the parties that Bill and I have attended in the past couple of weeks, I haven't had any time to blog. So I will update you on what we have been up to lately. Unfortunately, I also didn't take any pictures the last few weeks so I had to make do with a couple from the internet to at least give you a taste of what we have been doing. We took part in several events that are yearly traditions for us, some that we changed up with a little bit of a twist, and some that were brand new to us this year. All in all, it has been a very enjoyable holiday season for us.

The 11th was a very busy day for us. We had the Army-Navy Football game party where we get together with the West Point and Naval Academy alumni to cheer on our teams. This year it was at the Big Al's bowling alley restaurant and bar in Beaverton so we had to travel a little ways to get to it instead of it being here in Vancouver as it has been the last several years. Unfortunately, Army lost again this year and it was one unfortunate play that made the difference. We hosted our friends Jeff and Julie Oerding as we usually do. It is always a good time despite the loss. After the football game, we rested a bit to get ready for the Columbia Aviation Association Christmas party down in Aurora. We spent most of the evening with Jeff and Julie there which was also fun.

Thomas got home on the 11th as well so we have been enjoying having him home. Tuesday night, he and I went to a wrestling match to watch the Mountain View Thunder take on the Camas Papermakers. It was a very close match but the Thunder ended up losing. It was nice to be able to go watch some wrestling. I miss it with Tom gone away to school.

Wednesday night, Bill and I went to see the Christmas Ships at the Inn at the Quay. This is the first year that we didn't go to see them at Bev Fogle's home. Now that she has retired, she isn't doing her Christmas Ship party anymore. But the Rotary Club had a party in one of the meeting rooms at the Quay with a view of the river. It was wonderful to have such a terrific view of them. Bev lives far enough away from the river that you can't really see them well without binoculars. At the Quay, they come very close to the hotel and you get a great view. I hope Bill and I go there again next year--and maybe I'll take pictures next time. We did make time to visit Bev for about an hour Friday night so that Bill could give her his usual Christmas gift of a bottle of Scotch that she loves so much.

This past Saturday was also a very busy day for us. Chuck, Bill's brother, arrived to spend a few days with Bill's mom and us. We went to an open house at Colonel Frederick's to welcome home his daughter Cindy who has been at Lion's World in Little Rock, Arkansas for the past six months learning how to work for the IRS as a blind person. It was very good to see her. She is very pleased to be done with school and we are so happy that she was able to obtain an assignment here at the Portland office. So we will be able to get together with her on a regular basis again. She and Bill were very good friends as teenagers at West Point and we have just recently renewed that friendship in the past few years after she moved here to Vancouver from Honduras.

Saturday evening, Bill and I went to the Big Horn Brass Christmas Show that the Vancouver Symphony sponsored at Union High School. We were a little surprised that it wasn't made up of the symphony's brass section--only three of its fifteen members belong to the Vancouver Symphony--but it was a lovely concert. Afterward, some friends and business associates invited us to their lovely home for an after concert party. There was a huge spread of food but too much for me to eat that late at night--we didn't get there until quarter to ten. They also had a quartet to sing Christmas carols in Victorian costume for us. I really regretted leaving my camera in the car for that picture opportunity. They were very good and looked so good in their costumes.

So Christmas is only a few days away now. We are actually going to do some of our celebrating early this year. I am having surgery in a couple of days and will be convalescing for Christmas. Part of my recovery is the inability to eat solid food for several weeks--just a liquid and soft food diet. So Bill's mom is graciously going to cook a roast beef dinner for me tomorrow night as my last meal for awhile so that I can celebrate by having a Christmas dinner before my surgery. And it also works out great that Chuck is here to celebrate with us too. Being a traditionalist, Bill will expect a Christmas dinner on Christmas Day as well but I feel blessed that they want me to have a Christmas dinner while I still can.

So hoping all of you are enjoying your Christmas season as much as we are. May you all be blessed this season.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Festival of Trees Gala

Bill and I attended the Festival of Tree gala and auction Saturday night. I got to wear a new dress for the first time so that was fun.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fifteen Years of Service to SWMC

Last night was the hospital awards banquet. Bill and I went to celebrate my fifteen years of service to Southwest Washington Medical Center. It is hard to believe that I have been working there that long. Before this job, I had never been anywhere longer than three years. I started out as the ENT Surgical Nurse Specialist and have transitioned over to doing more information technology work for perioperative services. I started out working in the old OR and now have an office in the new tower--at least for the time being.

The awards banquet was very nice. It was scaled back from previous years due to the economy but was better in my opinion. I never enjoyed the casino night activities that they have always had in the past anyway.

It was also a bit of a nostalgic evening. This was to be the last awards ceremony for Southwest Washington Medical Center. The hospital is in the process of merging with PeaceHealth. The process should become final at the end of the month. The hospital has been independent for quite a few years now since it broke away from the Sisters of Providence but with the way healthcare and the economy have been--it just isn't feasible to stay independent any longer.

I love the history of our beginnings with Mother Joseph starting the first hospital in 1857 in a small converted laundry building at Fort Vancouver. She went all over the Northwest begging for money for the hospital. PeaceHealth has pretty similar beginnings. The Sister of St. Joseph of Peace came to Fairhaven, Washington in 1890 and started St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham. Before becoming Southwest Washington Medical Center, our hospital was known as St. Joseph's. It would have been so fitting to be able to return to that name but because there is already a St. Joseph's Medical Center in the system, we will now be known as PeaceHealth Southwest.

I have loved working at Southwest Washington Medical Center these past fifteen years and hope that the transition will be a good one and that I will like working for PeaceHealth as well.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Naughty or Nice?

Bill was Santa at the Festival of Trees again this year. Couldn't resist getting my picture taken on his knee. Hoping I have been good enough for Santa to be nice to me this Christmas.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Festival of Trees

One of our more recent Thanksgiving holiday traditions is to go to the Festival of Trees. Bill is a Rotarian and is in charge of the tree judging and has been Santa for the past few years. This year the festival is at the Pearson Air Museum with the trees all nestled up among the airplanes. Bill and I went Thanksgiving evening so that I could see them. Tom and I went so I could get my picture taken on Santa's lap. In the past, the gala has been held the Saturday after Thanksgiving to auction off the trees but this year it is going to be a whole week later. More pictures of me and Santa and Bill and I at the gala next week coming.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks

We had a very pleasant Thanksgiving--just the five of us. We had dinner at Beverly's house. She did most of the heavy lifting as far as the cooking was concerned but I made a few things at home and went to help her with the final preparations for the day. We were very thankful that Tom could be with us. It has been two and a half months since we have seen him. The winter storm over the weekend and beginning of the week had me concerned about his traveling home but he made it okay. He and Maddy drove over Snoqualmie Pass Tuesday afternoon--by then the highways were not too bad. It only took them a little longer than usual to make the trip. He had to take a $60 taxi ride from Kirkland to the Seattle Amtrak station because the roads were still pretty icy. And his Amtrak ride took a little longer than planned but we were very happy to have him home when he got here Wednesday afternoon. We are so blessed to have each other. Hoping everyone had a wonderful holiday as well.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Veteran's Day Celebration and Remembrance

Many years ago, Jeff Oerding started inviting all his veteran friends and their spouses out for dinner to celebrate Veteran's Day and then took them to the Veteran's Day dance at Pearson Air Museum. At some point, Bill and I started to be included. Since their marriage a few years ago, Jeff and Julie have continued this tradition every year although the evening has changed a little bit in the past few years because the Pearson Air Museum no longer has the Veteran's Day dance. Jeff and Julie always wear one of their many vintage uniforms that they own. They set up displays, have readings--usually about WWII, introduce everyone attending and their contributions to the military and ask them to tell their stories. Neither one of them has ever been in the military but they are part of a WWII living history group and have such a passion for military history and keeping it alive. It is so wonderful that they think enough of veterans to honor them in this way. And it is an honor to be included in this group of veterans.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Walk in Moulton Falls County Park

Bill and I took advantage of a break in the rain to go hiking at Moulton Falls County Park today. It has been three years since I went to Moulton Falls and we had never gone hiking on the trail there. Bill did the whole six mile round trip. Since I'm not much of a distance hiker like he is, I went three miles and had him pick me up in the car. It was a little too late in the season to see the change in color of the leaves so that was a little disappointing. The leaves were pretty much all on the ground by now. But it was a pleasant hike walking along the east fork of the Lewis River. There are a lot of rapids along the river and a lot of mini waterfalls coming off the hill going into the Lewis River. There are a lot of ferns and many of the trees are covered in moss. Moulton Falls itself is actually a very small waterfalls--only 10 feet tall. A surprise to me was Yacolt Falls which is also at Moulton Falls Park and is just up the road a little ways. It is much more impressive than the park's namesake. There is also a cool arch bridge that goes over the Lewis River and a swing bridge just down the creek from Yacolt Falls. As I waited for Bill to come get me in the car, I could feel that a storm was coming in with the wind coming up. It started pouring but luckily Bill came about 5 or 10 minutes after it started so that I didn't get too drenched. We really enjoyed having a nice excursion at the park today.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Veteran's Day

In honor of Veteran's Day, I thought I would post a picture of my nephew, Rhys. He is very into World War II at the moment and dressed up as a B-17 pilot for Halloween this year. The Smith family is always very creative with their costumes and this was a wonderful one as well.

Today is the big Vancouver Veteran's Day celebration and parade. Bill and I usually go to it but we went an Army-Air Force football game party instead. Unfortunately it was a very painful game to watch with Army losing by 20 points.

As we approach Veteran's Day I would like to tell all my family and friends who have served and are still serving, thank you for your service. I am proud of my service but am so thankful that I never had to serve during a wartime situation. It is with great admiration and gratitude that I thank those who did make that incredible sacrifice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Digital Pea of the Week

I belong to a wonderful digital scrapbooking community at Two Peas in a Bucket. It is a place that I can share my digital scrapbooking layouts, get ideas, and enjoy "conversing" with other digital scrappers around the country and even the world. A week or so ago, I was approached and asked if I was interested in being featured as a Pea of the Week. I was so honored to be asked. So my interview and layout that I did for the feature is at this link. Digital Pea of the Week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Band Concert of the Year

Tonight was the first concert of the year. As usual it was standing room only with three bands totaling 250 students and their families. Chris got a new uniform this year--an added tuxedo jacket and new tuxedo pants to go with his shirt and vest that he already had. He looked very sharp. As usual, the band is outstanding.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Tonight was the last home game of the season so it was senior night and it was also homecoming. I have sort of dreaded this night. This is the last game that I have a good excuse to go to. It is the last time that I have a son playing football or playing in the band. So it was a little bit sad for me. I have been attending middle school and high school football games for the past nine years. When Tom was playing football, I would attend as many as two games a week the whole season long. The last four years it has been just varsity home games but I always look forward to them. I love watching football and seeing all the energy put out by the team, the cheerleaders, the band and the students. I love the cheering and the music. Chris has always grumbled that he had to play in the band at football games because he doesn't like football. But I love going. I might go again. I'm not ruling it out. It is just pretty unlikely as it wouldn't be any fun going by myself. With Tom gone now, I don't have a buddy who likes football to go with.

With it being the last game of the season, they had the usual senior parent recognition for the football team and the cheerleaders. I was surprised to see a friend of Tom's on the field with his parents and his brother who was a senior player this year. He goes to American University in Washington, D.C. but he must have thought it was important enough to fly home to see his brother play in his last Thunder football game.

None of my pictures turned out but the tradition of all the schools around this area is to have the homecoming court brought in front of the stands in Corvettes and this year was no different. Three of the boys and at least one of the girls were in band. One of the band members was crowned king.

The game itself was a blowout. Mountain View beat Hudson's Bay 58-0. I felt so badly for the other team. How do you keep playing when you are getting hammered like that?

So it was a good night. The band was featured on Fox12 Friday Night Lights as the Band of the Week. Chris shows up in the video twice--once in the first few seconds and once in a closeup about midway through. Before you even start the video, he is in the middle of the screen just above the play arrow. Exciting to be able to see him on TV. Here is the link to the video. Mountain View High School Band of the Week.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

National 4H Week

Thought I would post this in honor of National 4H Week which was this week. State Fair was actually 3 weeks ago but we weren't able to get all the kids together to get a picture there so we waited until the award ceremony Thursday night to get a picture of them all together. All but one of the nine kids that went to state got blue ribbons in fitting and showing and they made a good showing in the judging competition and rabbit conformation as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A New Car

We've known since May that my 11 year old van was in need of a bunch of repairs. But since we had just bought a car for Bill a week earlier, we decided to just baby it along and hope it lasted at least until the end of the year. I didn't want to drive it out of town but Bill and Tom risked it to move back to college a few weeks ago. It has been leaking oil for awhile and radiator fluid for a bit too. When I went into the garage on Saturday, there was radiator fluid all over the floor of the garage and barely any in the car. Bill wasn't home but I made an SOS call that we needed to go car shopping right away.

Bill really wanted a van again but I was looking at used vans and everything seemed out of range of what we could really afford to spend. Looked at various small SUV's thinking that might be the way to go but they seemed so expensive too. So I didn't want to go the van/SUV route and wanted something smaller and more affordable. I never even considered a Jeep but the sales guy at the dealership said that a new Jeep Patriot was in the price range that we were looking at. I knew we had the compromise I was looking for then-a bit smaller vehicle but plenty of storage room in the back if you put the back seats down.

As usual, car buying is such a painfully long experience. I think we were at the dealership three hours before we were able to leave. I am so relieved to have a new car and not have to worry anymore about when the old car was going to die. But I'm not looking forward to having two car payments again after going so long without. I'm sure we will manage though and I am so going to enjoy my new ride.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fragility of Life

It has been a difficult week at Mountain View High School. In two separate tragedies on Tuesday and Thursday, two of the students died. Tuesday night, three 15 year olds were driving in a truck too fast and rolled it over. One of the boys didn't have a seatbeat on and died. Last night, a 17 year old girl was hit by a train. Just weeks ago, four Mountain View students were driving at 3 a.m. too fast, lost control and had an accident. One of the boys wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was very seriously injured. It has been said by other students that he is paralyzed. All of these incidents are such tragedies but they probably should have never happened in the first place. Why is it that no matter how much we get the word out that kids should wear seatbelts, there are always those stories about people who are thrown from cars in accidents because they weren't wearing one? How did three 15 year olds get keys to a truck to get into an accident in the first place? Even if the driver had a permit, there should have been an adult with him and those other boys should have never been in the truck with him--even with an adult driver supervising. The teenagers out on a double date at three a.m. should have never been driving at that time of night. Teenage drivers have curfews in Washington state. And if the rumors are correct, why did a 17 year feel she needed to end her life by walking into the path of a train? And if they aren't correct, why was she walking on the tracks in the first place? It all just seems so senseless.

Grief counselors have been at school two days this week--Wednesday and today. The kids wore tee-shirts in memory of the boy killed Tuesday. The pep assembly was canceled due to the girl dying last night. There was a moment of silence for both of them at the Mountain View-Union football game tonight. Union students wore blue hearts to school and the game tonight and had a banner "U Loves the View" at the game. They also gave hearts to the Mountain View students at the game that said the same thing. It was touching that the rival high school gave so much of themselves to honor Mountain View in their time of grief.

We need to hold our kids close and be so thankful they are alive. Kids make poor choices all the time. Fortunately, most of the time they survive those mistakes. But there are those times that lives can be taken away in an instant.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Forty Eight Years

Well--I'm another year older. Forty-eight years old now. After spending the weekend up in Puyallup, I had to go back to work on my birthday. My friends were nice to me though. I got several cards, some Avon products, an entertainment coupon book and a birthday cupcake from them. I decided I wanted to go to Mexico Lindo for my birthday dinner. We don't go there as often as we used to so it was a nice treat. And there is something to be said about a nice big margarita. Yum!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do the Puyallup

Chris and I went to Puyallup over the weekend to attend the Western Washington State Fair. He qualified to go for fitting and showing at the Clark County Fair. Eleven kids from our county went to participate. Chris got a blue ribbon so he was happy. The other kids did really well too with most getting blue ribbons and some getting call backs. One even made it to the finals table. One of Chris' club members got Best of Breed for her Holland Lop. In the judging competition, the middle school team got second place. One of the high school members, got 4th place as an individual. It was a successful competition for our club.

I went to explore other parts of the fair besides the rabbit competitions. It is always fun to go to the other barns to see the animals. I really enjoy the cow barn in particular. I was so fascinated by the families of pigs that I saw there last year. I wasn't disappointed this year either with those big litters of pigs. I enjoyed the draft horse show last year as well and went again this year. I watched the dressage competition for the first time this year. I have no idea what to look for in the competition but it was fun to see what it was like. I took in a few shows--a Beattles tribute concert, a country music band, a high school show choir and a bluegrass band. The bluegrass band was fantastic and not only did they do traditional bluegrass music but they played a lot of classical music on their instruments as well and injected a lot of humor into their routine. It was a fun hour to watch.

Sunday afternoon, we went to visit with my friend, Suzi, who lives in Puyallup. We haven't seen her and her family since last state fair time so it was good catching up with her again too. Chris and Timothy enjoyed playing a new video game. So it was a nice diversion away from the fair for awhile too.

Chris could go next year but he isn't sure he wants to again. We'll see how he feels when it comes time to make the decision. It certainly is an interesting experience to go there. We were glad to get home again though.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dancing with the Local Stars

Bill and I went to the Fifth Annual Dancing with the Local Stars at the Pearson Air Museum last night. We have been to all five events and they are always a good time. Bill had been involved in the Pearson Air Museum on the board and was the last president before turning it over to the Trust so we have a special fondness for the museum and supporting it. The dance is a fundraising event to raise money for the children's programs at the museum as well as other programs of the Fort Vancouver National Trust. It is a huge time commitment for these busy community members to prepare for this event. They literally spend months taking dancing lessons and have a minimum level of fundraising that they each have to achieve. Some even hold additional events ahead of time to to try to raise more funds. It is truly a labor of love to participate in this event. This year's event raised over $68,000 for the trust.

The 2010 participants were Susanne Cox-a vice president with Vesta Hospitality, K.C. Fuller-a commercial real estate broker, Carol Curtis-a real estate agent and commissioner for Clark Public Utilities, Lisa Dow-a banker with West Coast Bank, Nelson Holmberg-executive director of the Port of Woodland, and Larry Smith-retired Army colonel whose last duty station was Vancouver Barracks, real estate agent and city council member.

There are always some fun moments trying to outdo each other making their entrances or trying to bribe the judges. This year, Carol Curtis jumped off a platform with a parachute to reenact her parachute jump into Pearson on her wedding day in 1994. Larry Smith did a lot of different things as part of his presentation. He and his partner arrived at the hangar doors in antique military vehicles, he had an Army band member play reveille, had a script for asking his partner to dance and thanking her afterward and had several men in military uniforms from all the eras in which soldiers have been stationed at Vancouver Barracks and explain who they were representing and what they were involved in to help promote the establishment of a new military museum on the reserve grounds.

Our support was going to Larry. He is in Rotary with Bill and asked Bill to help him by making some videos to post on YouTube to help advertise the event and him in particular. We were so pleased that he won. Here is the video Bill worked on. We recorded the dance last night so there may be another video in the making at some point. Dancing with the Stars-Larry Smith Video.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First Home Game of the Season

Love this time of the year with both high school and pro football seasons starting. Last night was the first home game for Mountain View. Tom is still home and decided to go with me last night although both boys were skeptical that the Thunder would be able to beat the Camas Papermakers. A pretty safe bet since the Papermakers were ranked third in the state. Sure enough--the Thunder lost 27-14. I had fun despite the loss. It did seem strange though. For all these years that I have been going to Thunder football games, Mountain View has been a 4A division school. This year they are a 3A school so all the teams that they are playing are very different than who they have played in the past--at least for regular season games. So it should be interesting how the season turns out. I am just so happy fall and football season are finally here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Hike

Bill decided that he wanted to hike Hamilton Mountain this weekend. Chris and I went along today. It is the first time that he and I have gone although Bill and Tom have hike this trail several times in the past. I'm not much on hiking elevations although I did want to see the waterfalls. So I took my time getting up to that point on the trail and let Bill and Chris go ahead. There are actually two waterfalls--Hardy Falls and Rodney Falls. Below Rodney Falls is Pool of the Winds. It is hard to get any pictures of Hardy Falls because there are so many trees in the way but Rodney Falls is right next to the trail. Bill and Chris hiked the whole 8 miles of trails to the summit and back. I did some reading in the picnic area while I waited for them to come back. And then we went to have a late lunch in Stevenson at the Big River Grill. It was a pleasant day and fun to see at least a part of this trail that Bill and Tom love so much.

Bill actually took these pictures in the spring when he went there. But there is another picture of Rodney Falls and pictures of Beacon Rock and Bonneville Dam from the summit.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chris is now an adult

Yesterday was Chris' 18th birthday. It was also the first day of school for him. Since school has always started after Labor Day up until this year, he has never had to go to school on his birthday before. So there was a little bit of grumbling about that but he seemed to have a pretty good day. Tom stuck around long enough to help him celebrate his big day before leaving to go up North on his trip. We had a nice meal of pizza and cake with Grandma.

Chris senior portraits were ready to pick up today. I was really pleased with how they turned out. It is hard to believe that he is going to be a senior this year.

Back from Field Training

Tom survived Field Training down in Alabama and Mississippi. It was really hot and humid. It was hard but he made it through and graduated. He is happy that he is past that hurdle. These are a few pictures that the chaplain took of him and his group.

Tom was only home a few days. Today he left for a trip to Seattle/Kirkland/Winthrop to spend time with Maddy and her family and to finish painting her parent's picket fence that he started in July.

He also got good news yesterday that he got a job with the Housing office at school. So he has to move back to school next Sunday--several days sooner than we had planned but great news.

Port Townsend-Washington's Victorian Seaport

Port Townsend is a beautiful place. I've been there several times over the past 25 years although not recently. I never get tired of its charm. It has a great downtown with neat shops.

One of the highlights of the trip was spending two nights on Fort Worden's Officer's Row. "An Officer and a Gentleman" was one of my favorite movies and it was filmed at Fort Worden. I love going there and looking at the places that they filmed the movie. I've also always wondered what the Officer's Row housing was like. Before going, I joked with Sherrill that it probably was going to be like staying with her at her home at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne which was built during the same time period--around 1904. Imagine my surprise when I found that the house we stayed in was the exact same layout as Sherrill's house was--down to the fireplaces, steam registers with pie warmers, and cabinets. The army must have had a standard blueprint for building these houses during that time. It was like deja vu staying there.

Bill and I ended up going to different museums there. Bill went to the Coast Artillery museum. I had been there before a couple times so I didn't necessarily feel the need to go plus we didn't have much time before they closed. I went to the commanding officer's quarters museum which was set up like it would have been in 1904 when it was built. We also took walks around the post to see the cemetery, Alexander's Castle and the batteries that used to have the guns to protect Puget Sound from any attacks by sea.

One of the activities that our flight leaders planned was an airplane contest to see how far we could fly little airplanes. It was fun watching the guys. They were like little kids flying their airplanes--even long after the contest was over.

Some of the other things we did in Port Townsend were go to an air museum in which all the aircraft were restored by teenagers, tour a creamery that makes cheese, and go on a dinner cruise. Unfortunately we didn't see any orca whales but we did see a whole bunch of seals on a beach.

It was a fun couple of days.

Bremerton--A Navy Town

We flew up to Bremerton last Friday morning. Bremerton is the home of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. They repair and decommission ships there. We saw four aircraft carriers including the Kitty Hawk that was just decommissioned on this trip. Since we had been there last, they had moved the Naval Museum to a new building so we went to see it. There have been parks built along the shipyard and sound with wonderful water fountains and sculptures to look at. The ones in the picture are really cool--they reminded me of submarines and would have huge gushes of water as if the sub was breaching. We also went on a tour of the USS Turner Joy which is a frigate that was involved in the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The tour was conducted by five former naval chiefs and officers which took two hours and was excellent. Our tour guide was a 1961 Naval Academy graduate that served on the Turner Joy's sister ship so he knew a lot about this particular type of ship. We learned so much about various aspects of running the ship, protocols, and living conditions. The next morning we drove up to Keyport to see the Naval Undersea Museum there. I had been there with the boys several years ago. It is also a very nice museum. I found the life of a submariner's family to be very interesting--all the secrecy and limited amounts of communication were especially surprising. I didn't realize how restrictive their lives actually are. After we saw the museum, it was time to head back to the Bremerton Airport and make our flight up to Port Townsend. An interesting side note--when we were flying home, we saw a submarine making its way out to sea. That was really cool.

Anniversary Celebration

It has been really busy here these past couple weeks. After our trip to Wisconsin, Bill made a huge decision to move his office back into our home. We've been making lots of trips to the dump, Goodwill and back and forth between home and the office. We had to get rid of stuff at home to make room for a new office upstairs. We had to find more storage spots for some of the things that he doesn't need right now. Needless to say, it has been a bit stressful for all involved. So I was really looking forward to getting away for a few days to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary.

We signed up for a mystery flyout back in January. We weren't to find out where we were going until just before the trip. So a week before we left, we found out that we would be going to Bremerton and Port Townsend for a military history themed flyout. It has been a really long time since we have been to Bremerton or Port Townsend so it was great fun. I'll share the pictures and stories in other posts.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

More Shakespeare in the Park

When Bill heard that there was going to be a Shakespeare in the Parks at Maryhill Museum, he really wanted to go. So we trekked out to the Columbia Gorge last night to get some culture. Chris decided to go with us too. It was fun having him along. We stopped to check into our hotel at The Dalles first and then an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant before we headed out to the museum. On the way to the museum, we had a little extra time so we decided to do a little bit of wine tasting and decided to try Cascade Cliffs in Wishram. We had never been there before and enjoyed the wine pourer and some of the other patrons' conversation. It was a fun diversion before we headed to watch the play.

The play was held in the Sculpture Garden at the museum. We needed to be there an hour early to try to get fairly decent seats so I enjoyed walking around the grounds and taking a few pictures of the sculptures. I hadn't realized that they change out the exhibit every year. There are a few that have been there awhile but some were brand new.

And of course the view from the museum is spectacular.

"The Comedy of Errors" is the play that was presented. I think it is my favorite Shakespeare play of those that I have seen. It had a fun plot with two sets of twins that had never seen each other confusing everyone around them. As Bill put it--very slapstick humor--but I really liked it. Chris really enjoyed it too. The costuming was Victorian beach wear so that was kind of fun too. As with each of these plays that we have been to, being in the open air for a play presents some challenges. It was very windy in the gorge last night so it was hard to hear and got to be chilly. Of course the wind died down about the time the play ended. All in all it was a nice diversion to get away for a few hours.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Day the Fair Stood Still

As soon as Bill and I got back from vacation, it was time to get Ranger and Chris to the fair. This year's theme was an alien theme so we did space decorations for our barn. The small animal barn ended up getting a special award for our decorations. I was in charge of the banner and I thought that the kids did a great job with that.

It was really warm this year so it was a challenge keeping the rabbits cool. Chris spent a lot of extra time in the barn making sure the rabbits had enough water and spraying them with water bottles to make sure they stayed cool enough. Chris went every day this year since he could drive himself out there for the first time. And he stayed longer go enjoy some of the activities as well as take care of the rabbits.

I spent all day Wednesday and Sunday there. I like going for fitting and showing. Chris did well and got a blue ribbon so he is eligible to go to the state fair next month. I have always had to work so I have never seen the judging contest but Chris got a red ribbon in that. On Sunday, I was in charge of the rabbit races. I didn't do parent fitting and showing this year--I don't study any of the rabbit information with Chris so I failed miserably at it last year. They had more than enough parents participate this year anyway.

As always, it was a fun time but a long week--especially with it being so hot. And Ranger certainly seems to be glad to be home in his own cage.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wisconsin Rails to Trails

Bill loves to go on long hikes when we go to Wisconsin. On various trips he has hiked on 88 miles of the trails that are around the Tomah area. In the past he has done 32 miles on the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail, 13 miles on the Omaha Trail, and 22 miles on the 400 Trail. This trip he decided to do the LaCrosse River Trail which was 21 miles. He also wanted to revisit Tunnel #3 near Norwalk on the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail.

He always teases me that I lived so close to such a wonderful trail and I had never seen that tunnel. The only other time I had been on the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail was on an elementary school field trip. We hiked the Wilton to Norwalk portion of the trail and went through a shorter tunnel.

On Monday, I decided to go with Bill to see this tunnel that fascinated him so much. We hiked 2.5 miles from Norwalk to get to the tunnel and hiked about 7 miles round trip. It definitely was impressive. It is 3/4 mile long. You have to have a flashlight to go through it as you can't see any light at the other end of the tunnel as you are going through it.

Bill has already decided on his next hike when we go back to Wisconsin--the Great River Trail--the last 24 miles of these five linked trails.

Devil's Lake State Park

As soon as he heard we were coming to visit, Dane was anxious to take Bill hiking at Devil's Lake. He has seen the pictures that I send from the Pacific Northwest and thinks that Devil's Lake is on par with the beauty of the Northwest. And it certainly is beautiful there. I had taken Dad there a few years ago to go on a short hike in Parfrey's Glen but had never been on the main hiking trails around the lake. And Bill had never been there.

So on Sunday morning, Darren, Tess, Dane, Dad, Bill and I headed down to Baraboo to go hiking. There are trails that go to the tops of both the east and west bluffs next to the lake and a trail that goes along the west shore. We got there at just the right time as a thunderstorm cleared out of the area. So it was still cool enough to enjoy hiking. I had a hard time making it up to the top of the west bluff so I decided to take the easy route back to the car along the lake. But Darren, Tess, Dane and Bill continued their hike over the east bluff too. The quartzite boulders that were everywhere around the lake and bluffs were absolutely beautiful lavender and green colored. We got some great pictures and then enjoyed a picnic lunch next to the lake.

Tomah High School Class of 1980

Who would have ever thought the years would have gone by so quickly. It certainly doesn't seem possible that I graduated from high school 30 years ago. At 17 years old, I know that a 30 year reunion would have sounded like a really long time into the future. I certainly am starting to feel the aches and pains of old age though.

It was fun to see everyone at the reunion. It is funny how some people look exactly the same as they did in high school--or only slightly different anyway--and some people looks so completely different that you don't recognize them.

It was fun that the organizers invited our teachers too. It was especially fun seeing Nona Smith and Sharon Powell having grown up with them being in the same church as well as being my teacher.

Sherrill came as my date. Bill didn't want to go and I can't say as I blame him since he doesn't know anyone. But since Sherrill graduated in 1981, she knew pretty much everyone too. She has never been to one of her own reunions so she has been to mine before her own. She was going to figure out how much she was going to want to go to hers next year based on mine. Who knows--maybe I'll be her date next year.

Falkner Family Reunion

Growing up, Uncle John Falkner hosted the annual Falkner reunion at his cottage in Hatfield every 4th of July weekend. There was always a lot of activity going on with all of Great Grandma Schultz's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren running around playing, swimming, waterskiing and just visiting. The last reunion took place in 1996 but it has been much longer since I attended one. It has been 26 years since I went to a Falkner reunion. I remember being so excited about graduating from college, getting ready to go into the army and telling everyone all about it. I was thrilled when I heard that Uncle John's grandchildren--Tammy, Kim and Craig--had decided to host a reunion this year.

Unfortunately, none of Uncle Howard and Aunt Dorothy's family could attend because of other commitments and Aunt Dorothy's failing health. And Grace Falkner Wolf and her family weren't able to come either. But all of Bob Falkner's children and grandchildren were there and almost all of the Snowberry family was there. Michael was the only cousin that wasn't there as well as a few of the teenagers and young adults.

I took advantage of getting our family's picture taken this trip. It has been three years since we were all together last. It seems as we all get older, these times that we have together are so precious and I cherish them.