Monday, February 25, 2013

Vancouver Goes Hollywood

We were invited to an Oscar party at the Kiggins Theater put on by the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.  It was a fun idea making the event as much like the real Oscars as possible.  Bill and I had never been to the Kiggins Theater before.  It was was built in 1936 and was recently purchased and renovated by Dan Wyatt.  It was interesting to see all the art deco touches.

Bill and I elected not to go for the VIP treatment--arriving by limo and getting the swag bag of goodies, etc.  But we were still greeted with enthusiasm by the guys from "The Vancouver Side" announcing our arrival on the red carpet.  There was the atmosphere of several photographers taking our pictures and cameramen videotaping our interview with "The Fashion Police"--Alisa Tetreault--co-owner of Most Everything Vintage; Brett Allred of Beigeblood hair salon; and Seth Aaron Henderson--Fashion designer and Project Runway Season 7 winner.  They were interviewing everyone as they came in about their wardrobe, jewelry and their hopes for who would win the Oscars that evening.
We enjoyed our James Bond inspired cocktails and appetizers, checked out the upstairs bar and visited with friends while we waited for the show to start.  It was great seeing the Oscars on the big screen.  Very fun way to watch the Academy Awards and feel like you were almost there.

There was an article in the Columbian today about the event if you are interested in learning more about it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Love You

Maddy posted this picture of Tom last night.  She always says that Ariel loves Tom more than she loves her.  Tom and Ariel certainly look cute together.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Valentine's Date

Maddy has been to a place in Kirkland called Palettes and Pairing where you can go to a painting class and drink wine in the past.  She has gone with friends.
And with her parents just before she moved to Pensacola.
She was excited to find a place in Pensacola that does the same thing.  So she arranged to go with Tom yesterday.  They took a bottle of Malbec with them to enjoy while they worked on their masterpieces.  What a fun way to celebrate Valentine's Day together!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Day

We never go out for Valentine's Day.  It is always too crowded.  If we do go out, it is on another night.

This year, Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday--CAA night.  So the president decided to find out who would come that night and no one raised their hands.  So another guy recommended that they have a Valentine's Dinner for the wives.  So Bill and I headed down to Aurora Thursday night to enjoy a tri-tip dinner.  I got a rose and we watched the movie "Amelia" with Hilary Swank playing Amelia Earhart.  It was a very nice evening with Bill and our friends.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Save Pearson Air Museum

This week--Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver, Washington was given two days notice that the National Park Service (NPS) intended to take over the museum.  The Fort Vancouver National Trust which currently ran the museum and the Pearson volunteers had two days to pack up everything in the museum and move it out.  The NPS intended for the contents to remain and to run the museum themselves.  Giving only two days notice, they were hoping that they would be able to seize all the exhibits.  While the Pearson Air Museum resides on NPS property, the museum was built with funds raised by the Pearson Field Historical Society and was turned over to the Fort Vancouver National Trust to run the museum on behalf of the City of Vancouver several years ago.  All the exhibits are property of the Trust or private donors. 

This has been an upsetting turn of events for our community and for our family.  We got involved with the Pearson Air Museum shortly after we moved here.  I remember one of the first events that we attended was when Tom Murphy reenacted the Silas Christofferson flight off the roof of the Multnomah Hotel in 1995.  We went down to the old Pearson Air Museum in a small green hangar to witness this historic flight commemorating the 1912 flight in a Curtiss Pusher.  The flight kept getting delayed so I took Tom and Chris home and watched on TV.  Once the pilot took off from the roof of the building, I rushed to pack the kids back in the minivan to get back to the airport to see him land.  Shortly after that, Bill got involved on the Board of the Pearson Field Historical Society and eventually became President of the Board.  He was involved in the transition of the museum from the Historical Society to the Trust.  One of the reasons being that the NPS was difficult to deal with at that time as well and the thought was that the Trust on behalf of the City would be in a better position to deal with the bureaucracy of the NPS than the Historical Society might have been.  Over the years, we have attended many events at the museum--children's day activities, hangar dances, Christmas parties, various charitable fundraising events including Dancing with the Local Stars and Festival of Trees, and a friend's wedding.  We even purchased a sleepover at the museum one year and invited Tom's entire 5th grade class.  Years later, his friends still remembered what a wonderful experience that was for them.

I love everything located on the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site--including Fort Vancouver which the NPS runs.  So this isn't about bashing Fort Vancouver.  It is a wonderful place.  But the history of that site goes way beyond Fort Vancouver--which was actually located there a relatively short time compared to Pearson Field.  Hudson's Bay Company may have been here first (after the Indians of course) but the U.S. Army wasn't far behind arriving in 1849.  I love Officer's Row in particular but it is fascinating to see the other old Vancouver Barracks buildings as well.  Vancouver Barracks went by a few different names early in its history but it played a central role in protection of settlers arriving on the Oregon Trail and in the Indian Wars of the mid-1800's.  Pearson Field's history dates back to 1905 when a dirigible landed on the polo grounds at Vancouver Barracks--making it the longest continuous running airport in the United States.  The first airplane landed here in 1911.  During WWI, the site was instrumental in spruce production for building planes for the war effort.  From 1923-1941, it was the home to the U.S. Army Air Service.  In 1937, the famous landing of Valery Chkalov and two other Russian pilots at Pearson after the first non-stop transpolar flight made news around the world and the City of Vancouver still has a close relationship with the Russians and the Chkalov family because of this historic landing in Vancouver. During WWII, it was a staging area for the war and the Kaiser shipyards were producing warships nearby on the Columbia River.  The military has continued its presence at Vancouver Barracks until very recently.  In the 1990's, the phrase "One Place Across Time" was used to describe this site because of its long history.  Fort Vancouver and the NPS's narrow-minded view about the history of the site represents only a small portion of the history here.  Being located in a thriving city, it continues to make history.

The National Park Service was re-negotiating its contract with the Trust.  It essentially made it impossible for the museum to continue any of the programs and activities that it has worked so hard to put in place.  The NPS has recently not allowed certain events to take place at the museum citing that they don't meet the NPS rules.  This closure is especially hard on many non-profit groups in Vancouver that hosted their events there at a discounted rate.  By allowing organizations to host their fundraisers at the museum, it helped the community as a whole allowing more dollars to go to charitable causes rather than to venue rental.  It has forced the museum to remove STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) based educational programs such as its summer aviation camps and Exploring Careers in Aviation program which the museum was in partnership with the Clark County Skills Center.   I just read on their Facebook site today, that a Simply Scientific Saturday was scheduled to be held in two weeks.  Programs like that were being scheduled all the time.  Now they are being canceled.  Bill and I attended one of the protests yesterday in our support of the museum.  So hard to go there and not be able to go inside and see the airplanes and other exhibits.

My son, 2LT Thomas Roller, also mourns that fact that this place has closed.   "I'm very disappointed that the place I learned to love flight has closed its doors for the time being.  It is a place I still hold dear to my heart.  I hope that the issues surrounding it are resolved before I go home and it can once again reopen.” He is currently learning to fly the T-6 in the Air Force Undergraduate Combat Systems Officer course in Pensacola, FL.  His story is just one of many young people that have been touched by the Pearson Air Museum and sparked their interest in aviation and aviation history.

I too hope that it is possible to open the museum again.  The museum exhibits must return to their home and be under the control of the Fort Vancouver National Trust and not the NPS.  No other location will be the same. If you want to help, there is a new Facebook page devoted to saving the museum.  Look for "Save Pearson Air Museum" on Facebook for events and ways that you can help.

Here is just a sampling of some of our more recent memories of Pearson Air Museum.  Unfortunately, many of our memories are from prior to owning a digital camera.  But I hope you can get a sense of what a special place it was to us through my photos.

Friday, February 8, 2013

T-6 Dollar Flight

Tom did get to have his first flight in the T-6 today.  He was so excited.  He called Bill to talk flying.  I got to see his Facebook post but could tell he was excited.

"Today at the office, I climbed to 15,000 ft.  Pulled 4Gs in a turn.  Did a spin, barrel roll, aileron roll, split-s, immelmann, cloverleaf, cuban eight, lazy eight and a few stalls.  Pulled another 4G turn at 800 ft. above the ground and a high performace climb out before coming back to Earth.  Did I mention my office is an Air Force airplane?  Needless to say, I love my job!"

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ready for Takeoff

Tom's Combat Systems Officer class started out on the flight line this week.  They posted this fun class picture on Facebook this week with a theme of "Clear the Desks".  I assumed it was a play on words in relation to "clear the decks".  However, Tom set me straight to let me know that the photo was actually meant to be a gift for an instructor.  They were going to make it into a mouse pad for him.  And that "clear the desks" is what the instructor said when it was time to take their exams.  The pose was also with this instructor in mind.  He had his hands inside the collar of his flight suit with his thumbs up all the time as he was instructing.  So it was all meant to have fun with this instructor for his gift.  At any rate, they are done with the academic portion of the course and ready to fly T-6's.

He was so excited to start flying.  He was scheduled to have his dollar flight on Wednesday but it was canceled both Wednesday and today for bad weather.  So he is hoping to get that first flight tomorrow.  Keeping my fingers crossed for him.  Such an exciting time in his life.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday

Bill and Cindy had been talking about getting together so we decided to have her and Jim come over for a Super Bowl party at our house.  I have never really thrown a Super Bowl party before.  So it was kind of fun planning the menu.  And I had to get a little creative to accommodate Cindy's gluten intolerance but she was so appreciative that I went out of my way to make sure she could eat some cornbread and cookies.  She asked to take some cookies home with her because she hadn't had any in so long.

I, of course, supported my own team even though they weren't in the Super Bowl by wearing my Packer gear and using my Packer chip and dip set.  Normally I would have been very interested in watching the game but hosting the party actually made that a little bit difficult.  So I didn't get to see very much of the game or the commercials.  But I got to visit with Cindy which I hadn't been able to do in quite awhile so it was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon and evening.

Chris had an interesting spin to his Super Bowl Sunday.  He doesn't like football at all.  He recently got a new debit card and it has the 49ers on it.  He was so upset because they automatically gave him a card with a football team on it and he doesn't even like football--much less that they assume he like the 49ers even if he did.  He kept posting on Facebook that he needed to rout for the Niners because they were on his debit card and that he didn't want to face all the "sorry your team didn't win" comments when he used his card.  So at the end of the game, he said--"Better stock up on cash."  Too funny that guy!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Fun Day

Even though Tom isn't around anymore to go to wrestling matches with me, I can't seem to stay away--at least not totally.  I went to a dual match with Hudson's Bay a couple of weeks ago and since I was an airplane widow for most of the day, I decided to go to the district championships.  It was fun to see Jake Thomas and Brady Stoddard--teammates of Tom's years ago--sharing their expertise with the current Thunder wrestlers as coaches.
And Coach Chipman is still the head coach and it is still entertaining to watch him get excited during matches.

It is heartwarming to see the "little" wrestlers that Tom taught when he was in high school and has kept in touch with by helping out with practices when he was home for Christmas break while in college.  Kenji Yamishita has had an awesome year winning multiple championships and Brandon Profitt was another little guy Tom worked with that isn't so little anymore and is also an exceptional wrestler.

I only stayed long enough to watch through the semi-finals so I didn't watch the rest of the consolation rounds or the finals but the Thunder won the district championship and have many wrestlers going to the regional tournament next weekend.  They had an awesome day. Tom would have loved to be here to see them with me, I'm sure.

Part of the reason I left early was because Bill and I had made plans to go out to the Columbia Gorge to shoot some video when he was finished with the plane and I took a few pictures of course.  It was a beautiful day to go although a little chilly.

All in all a very good day.