Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cadet Roller Goes To Field Training

Tom has been waiting all summer to go to field training. Today was the big day. We got an early start to the day as he needed to be at the airport by 4:30. He flew to Atlanta, had to meet up with the rest of his friends from CWU that flew from Seattle, and find the chartered bus to take him to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Field training is the ROTC version of basic training. He'll spend two weeks at Maxwell and then go to Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for urban warfare training. It is going to be a hot, humid month for him being in the deep south and not being used to that kind of weather. He has been studying, exercising, and packing most of the summer trying to get ready. He has been so anxious to go but a little nervous too. He kept checking and rechecking his instructions to make sure he was getting everything right. He didn't want to do anything that was going to get him into trouble. He has spent two years getting ready for this so I'm sure he will do just fine. It will be hard not being able to talk to him though. No phone calls or e-mail for a whole month--only snail mail letters. Hopefully I will get at least one or two.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Columbia Gorge Hikes

The guys went to the Columbia River Gorge to hike at Dog Mountain today. This is about the 5th or 6th trip one combination or another of the family has gone out this spring and summer so far. Bill has several favorites in the gorge including the Mosier Tunnel, Hamilton Mountain, Beacon Rock, Dog Mountain and Cape Horn. Dog Mountain is a challenging 7.5 mile hike with a 2800 foot elevation gain. Tom took his combat boots to hike in hoping to break them in for field training starting next week. A hike in the gorge always ends with lunch in Stevenson--either at the Big River Grill or Viking Burger. Today it was Viking burgers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trek in the Park

Bill and I took advantage of another free theater in the park event tonight. Bill came across "Trek in the Park" through a friend whose daughter is in the play. And since Bill has seen every episode of "Star Trek", he was really interested in going. This group reenacts old TV episodes and this one was called Space Seed where Khan takes over the Starship Enterprise and the crew needs to take back control. We got there an hour early and it was already crowded so we were lucky to get a fairly decent spot in the shade. It was an enjoyable hour seeing those familiar characters come back to life. Afterward we went to the Kennedy School to have dinner. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon and evening together.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dancin' at the Shores

Bill and I attended a birthday party for our friend, Karen Stanley, at her home as our final event for Saturday. She has a beautiful, unique home that she designed herself and includes a ballroom with parquet floor, digital sound system and mirrored ball. She loves to dance and used to complete in ballroom dance competitions. We often get invited to attend dance lessons or other parties at her house and they always include dancing. It is really fun to watch her friends that dance so beautifully. We struggle a bit but we managed to get one dance in last night.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Soldiers' Bivouac

After the rabbit show, I went down to Officer's Row to see the Soldiers' Bivouac that is going on this weekend. I went last year and enjoyed it so much. I didn't take pictures this year but am sharing the ones that I took last year. The displays are fascinating and only begin to help one realize what life as a soldier was like back in those time. I'm still waiting to see a 1860's baseball game. There is one tonight between the 1st Oregon Volunteers and the Vancouver Occidentals but we have been invited to a birthday party tonight so can't go again. They play by 1860 rules which includes underhand pitches, the batter telling the pitcher where to throw it, and the fielders playing without gloves. Would be interesting to see it sometime. Maybe next year.

Harvest Days Rabbit Show

Chris and I went to Battle Ground for the Harvest Days Festival rabbit show. Our 4H club does a show there every year to help prepare for county fair. Here are a few pictures from the show.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tom Turned 21

Hard to believe that it has been 21 years since Tom was born. He spent his actual birthday in Ellensburg with friends. Tonight we got to celebrate as a family. He was showing his adult maturity by sticking his tongue out at me while taking his birthday picture.

Here Comes the Bride

Bill and I went to Heather Tavasci and Brendan Jobin's wedding last night at the Lewis River Golf Course. Heather is the daughter of my good friend, Krystal. A couple of years ago Krystal and Tom moved to Florida and Heather and Brendan moved to Salt Lake City but they have so many family ties to this area that they decided to have the wedding here. It was great to see them all and an honor to share this special day with them. The Lewis River Golf Course was the perfect setting for an outdoor wedding next to the river. We had a wonderful time.

I wanted to make sure that Krystal and I got our picture taken together. She keeps trying to persuade me to visit her in Florida. Hopefully someday that will happen but in the meantime, I have this picture to remember her by.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shakespeare in the Park

Bill loves to go to Shakespeare plays. His parents started taking him to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival as a child. And we have gone to a few plays over the years in Philadelphia and Ashland, Oregon which boasts the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Last year, we read about the Portland Actors Ensemble doing "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Esther Short Park. They offer free performances but they do ask for donations to help support their mission. We went and had a very nice time. It was a very different presentation. They read their lines from scrolls and there was a "referee" that would stop and start the action whenever the bell tower would start chiming, a plane would fly over or a train would go by which was frequently. It was fun at first but got kind of old after awhile. I'm not sure Esther Short Park is the best place to have a play as it is a noisy place in the path of all kinds of transportation. Last night we went to see "Pericles-Prince of Tyre" at Mount Tabor Park in Portland.

Before going to the play, we decided to play it by ear and find a place to eat on the way there. We don't really know that area of Portland well so we didn't know what we would find. We came across a Lebanese restaurant and it seemed very fitting as it went along with the theme of a Mediterranean evening. We had a lovely meal before heading to Mount Tabor for the play.

The play was being performed at the top on the top of Mount Tabor which is an extinct volcano. We had to park below and climb up to the top. A group of belly dancers performed for us while we waited for the play to start. That is always fun to watch.

"Pericles" isn't a very commonly performed play but it was interesting and we had an enjoyable evening. After the intermission, it was dark enough that they had to light Coleman lanterns and use them as footlights to light the stage area.

The Portland Actors Ensemble is going to do "A Comedy of Errors" at Maryhill Museum out on the Columbia Gorge in about six weeks. We are making plans to go out there to see it and spend the night. Should be fun.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sing 4th

One of my favorite events is the Sing 4th competition. Teenagers from high schools across the county compete for a place to sing at the 4th of July contest. There were nine performers this year and they were all fantastic.

Kyra Smith co-hosted the competition again this year--her sixth time. Since she is only 17 now and there wasn't a contest last year, she was about 10 the first time that she did it. She is such an accomplished vocalist. She has sung professionally as a lead singer for Disney Radio. She emcees events with such poise and ease. You would never guess she was a teenager just graduating from high school. Now that she is graduating, I wonder how many more of these events she will be doing here in Vancouver. I have so enjoyed seeing her perform the last several years. I see great things happening in her future. She is definitely a star in my eyes.

Independence Day at Fort Vancouver

The 4th of July just wasn't the same last year after the celebration at the fort was canceled due to loss of major sponsors. Everyone was so glad that there would be a celebration again this year. It is one of the events that truly defines Vancouver. Changes were made to make it a more cost effective event. There was an admission charge this year instead of a request for donation. Instead of having one huge stage with big video displays like in the past, there were four smaller entertainment venues. Instead of launching the fireworks off a barge in the river, they launched them from the airport. I only spent the afternoon there and didn't get to see the evening events but I had a great time listening to the music and seeing the events that were taking place then.

The Family Entertainment stage had potato sack races, hula hoop contests, water balloon contests, puppet shows, the Fort Vancouver Pipe Band and hula dancing. There were also lots of kids activities near the heritage stage including parlor games, croquet, orienteering and learning Chinook jargon.

There was a short Kids Parade that the kids were able dress up and decorate wagons and strollers and get their faces painted. There were a few cars, old military vehicles, tributes to Clark County's fallen heroes, and the Buffalo Soldiers.

The heritage stage had Civil War demonstrations and music, vintage fashions, bluegrass music, Celtic music and Scottish dancing.

The main stage had various types of music. There was an acoustic stage with music as well.

There was a lot going on for great entertainment. Happy Birthday America!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Day at the Park and Farmer's Market

Today was a gorgeous sunny day and too beautiful to pass up going to Esther Short Park and the Farmer's Market. It was the first time that I had gone so far this year. Established in 1853, Esther Short Park is the oldest park in Washington State and one of the oldest in the West. When we first moved here, it was a scary place to go as it had become rundown and the transient population had taken it over. In 1997, Mayor Royce Pollard made it his mission to make Esther Short Park "Vancouver's Living Room". It is now revitalized with the bell tower that has a Columbia River theme, a fountain that children are allowed to play in, a playground, a concert stage, a rose garden, and the Slocum House Theater. We have gone to concerts, plays and festivals there. It is such a beautiful place to go and enjoy the day now.

It is fun to go to the Farmer's Market there as well. It is always wonderful to see all the beautiful flowers, fruits and vegetables, listen to the music being played by various entertainers, and smell the wonderful odors coming from the food court vendors. It is definitely a feast for all one's senses.