Monday, August 29, 2011

Silver Wedding Anniversary

It is hard to believe that I have been married 25 years. Bill and I had a lovely weekend. We struggled for a long time trying to figure out how we were going to celebrate this milestone. We've talked about doing an Alaska cruise but never got around to planning it. We talked about Friday Harbor but I looked at lodging there and it has gotten to be so expensive to go there. We've never been to Vegas. I even joked that we could renew our vows at some wedding chapel there but going this time of year isn't very appealing--way too hot. Plus with having to take care of Beverly, we couldn't do anything really far away or long. So we finally settled on an overnight trip to Walla Walla. We were last there five years ago on a three day marathon winetasting tour. So we decided to go back and maybe try to see a few other things.

I booked a room at the Marcus Whitman Hotel-a lovely old historic hotel that was built in 1928. I figured that we may as well go for the best place in town for our anniversary. And it was actually very reasonable compared to our trip to Chelan. We flew over yesterday morning and arrived just in time to eat at the restaurant at the airport. There are a whole bunch of wineries located right on the airport and we figured we had better eat before we start doing any winetasting. After lunch we went to Le Chateau and Tamarack and bought a couple of bottles of wine. It had already gotten pretty hot there though so walking around the airport wasn't fun anymore and we decided to call the hotel shuttle to pick us up. We were there too early to get into our room so we explored downtown a little bit but again--it was so hot that we ducked into a wine bar and had a glass of wine while we waited for our room to be ready.

After laboring long and hard to try to find some place to eat based on the recommendations we were getting, we finally decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. It was a little expensive but was so good. Everything we ordered from martinis, appetizers, entries and desserts was absolutely wonderful. If you are interesting in seeing what the hotel looks like (I didn't get very good pictures), here is the website Marcus Whitman Hotel.

After breakfast this morning, we headed back home but had to make a detour because the weather was so bad here at home. We landed in Hood River with very high winds. Luckily, the airport FBO had a courtesy car so we went to downtown Hood River to walk around and have lunch while we waited for the weather to improve. Three and a half hours after we landed, we were finally able to take off again and things had improved enough that we were able to land in Vancouver without problems.

So we had a lovely weekend to celebrate our landmark anniversary.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Love-Today, Tomorrow, Forever

Went to our friend Cindy's wedding yesterday at her new home with her husband, Jim. Cindy is a long time friend of Bill's from when he was at West Point. Her dad was the officer/instructor assigned as the sponsor for the fencing team so he knew her whole family and spent a lot of time in their home. Cindy was about 15 years old at the time but she would practice fencing with the team and they considered her their little sister.

Her dad's last duty station was here in Vancouver so her parents retired here. We even lived just around the corner from them for awhile but didn't know it until after they had already moved. Somehow, Jonathan found out that we lived here and contacted us when Cindy and her children came up to visit from Honduras several years ago. We reconnected again about four years ago after Cindy moved here with her children in the process of divorcing her husband. Bill has really enjoyed reconnecting with her and I have enjoyed becoming closer friends with her as well over the past few years. Hearing her stories about her twenty years living in Honduras are fascinating to me. It is such a different world than we live in.

She is legally blind and has struggled to find her way--trying to find a job for over three years and trying to sort through dealing with her blindness, some cancer issues and her divorce and custody issues. But things have finally started to come together for her. She went to Lion's World in Little Rock, Arkansas about a year ago to get training to work as a blind person for the IRS. She really lucked out by getting an assignment in Portland so that she could come back here to live again. She has known Jim for several years now and they have fallen in love and decided to get married.

The marriage ceremony took place in their backyard. Cindy looked beautiful in her blue dress and it was a very nice ceremony. We haven't seen much of her or Andrea and Daniel in the last year so it was fun seeing them again. And I have seen Laura once but have never really met her so it was nice to talk to her for a little bit as well. Louise enjoyed telling our boys stories about their dad and the other cadets from when she knew him as well as some other Army life stories.

Our best wishes go out to Jim and Cindy as they start their married life together.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Old Firehouse

They had a fireman theme at the fair this year. That is why there are fireman pictures on the layout of Chris from the barn. They had a really cool exhibit of vintage fire wagons and trucks--over 40 in all. I loved seeing all the old fire wagons from the 1800's and the shiny well restored trucks. There was even a brand new 2011 truck. The display was to honor all firemen but especially those that lost their lives on 9/11.

Last Year at Fair

Now that Chris has graduated from high school, this was his and Ranger's last year at the fair. His heart wasn't really in it this year. But he stuck with it. He debated whether he even wanted to go to fair or not but I convinced him that he might regret it someday if he didn't. He didn't do quite as well this year because of it. Plus they had a really tough judge that didn't give as many blue ribbons. Chris had already decided he wasn't going to go to state fair this year anyway but it was still a little disappointing to me that he ended on a less than good showing. So now Ranger just gets to be our pet and doesn't have to endure poking and prodding and having to sit still (not that he ever did anyway) on the fitting and showing table. I'm glad we got to experience 4H as an organization. We learned a lot more about rabbits and it was a good experience over all.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A New Beginning

Bill and I went to Kristin Guest's wedding last night. Her mother, Colleen, and I have been friends for over 15 years and during those early years, we spent time with the children as well. The last several years have consisted of being limited to just going out to dinner on our birthdays. So while I haven't known Kristin more recently, I knew her as a little girl and vicariously through my conversations with her mother. I wish her and David all the luck in the world for their future happiness.

It was nice to see Colleen. She was very happy. She and Michael looked very nice all dressed up for the occasion. Colleen is my friend that had a stroke in January. I keep hoping that she will regain more use of her right arm and to be able to have conversations with her again some day like old times.

The wedding sort of reminded me of my own wedding 25 years ago. It was a relatively small gathering-maybe a little bigger than ours, the groom is in the army and they had their reception in a community center like we did. Only a few more weeks until our anniversary. While this is a picture take in May--it is appropriate for our anniversary. We are still in "Luv in the Couv".

Monday, August 1, 2011

Waste Your Life

I have to admit. I don't understand why the youth group chose "Waste Your Life" as the theme for their mission trip this year. It made no sense to me. It is based on Mark 8:35-"For whoever wants to hold on tightly to their life will lose it, but whoever gives their life away for me and for the good news will find it." The idea is that Christ gave so much of his love that he could waste it on us and that we should give of ourselves to the point that our love is wasted as well.

The youth group from Columbia Presbyterian Church took 51 youth and adults to New Orleans to work on houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina as part of Project Homecoming. They were in New Orleans during the heat of the summer--July 16-23. Chris decided to go on this trip awhile ago. He worked at the fundraising auction that helped with the cost of the trip and had to come up with some money on his own for the rest of the cost.

They went to the Garden District their first night there to have Creole cuisine at Frankie and Johnny's. Chris said he got the alligator nuggets there and enjoyed them. They got to experience two different kinds of churches--a Presbyterian church and a gospel Methodist church on Sunday. And the warm Southern hospitality of both those congregations. They also went to the French Quarter a couple of different times to go to Cafe du Monde for coffee and beignets, see St. Louis Cathedral and shop. One night they went to a bayou near where they were staying and got to see an alligator.

The main purpose of their trip was to work on houses. Chris worked on a house in the Lower Ninth Ward that was nearly finished. Some groups also worked at getting a school ready by painting and moving books, worked with some children, and at a food bank in addition to working on houses. The devastation is still pretty significant. There are many houses that are completely gone. Some that are finished by groups like Project Homecoming and Habitat for Humanity. One can question God's plan when seeing that kind of devastation but Christopher did see the good that came out of it. How people come together when bad things happen. So he felt it was a worthwhile trip and also enjoyed getting to know some of the kids in the youth group better.

If you are interested in a more in depth review of what they did, the minister and a mom wrote a blog while they were down there-Waste Your Life.