Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas One and All

Hope you all are having a good Christmas.  We were happy to hear that Tom got home on Tuesday.  He has been deployed since October so we were very happy that he was going to be home just in time for Christmas and happy that he is back on US soil.  Tom and Maddy are spending the holidays in Wichita this year.  So we are missing having them with us but are happy that they are together.

Chris got home last week.  I wanted to get him a suit for Christmas so we went shopping last weekend.  Got more than I bargained for due to the sales but hoping that he will be a well dressed young man for graduation and interviews coming up.

We have had a tradition the last few years of going to a movie on Christmas Day but I am on call so didn't want to get called out of the theater.  So we did it a bit earlier this year.  And Chris was really chomping at the bit to see Star Wars anyway so we went Sunday morning to see the movie.  It was really good and worth seeing.  Pretty amazing the numbers of folks that are going to see it already.

It has been a quiet Christmas here on the home front.  We did go to Christmas Eve service.  But as luck would have it, I got a ticket just as we got to church and Bill had to bring me home so I could take care of it.  Luckily it was a quick fix and I was able to drive back to church and enjoy the second half of the service.

Christmas Day was equally quiet.  We didn't have any gifts to open.  We are big into getting our own presents vs. getting them from each other.  And having bought Chris' gifts before Christmas with him in tow, there wasn't anything for him to open.  Bill went for a walk but with being on call, I couldn't really go anywhere that I could be away from home for long so I watched Hallmark Christmas movies most of the day.  And we Skyped with Tom and Maddy for a bit as well.  I worked on cooking Christmas dinner throughout the day.  We had prime rib, sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, cranberries and chocolate pecan pie.  Very yummy dinner and enough leftovers to enjoy tonight again.

So just enjoying some downtime.  Hoping your Christmas was everything you wanted it to be.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Past--Just Because

I did this for a scrapbooking challenge today.  I really don't remember this Christmas since I was only 15 months old.  But I like the picture of me with my sister, mom and dad on my sister's first Christmas.

Army-Navy Weekend

Chuck wanted to come for a visit the weekend of the Army-Navy game and the CAA Christmas Party.  We didn't feel like going out to Beaverton to watch the game with the alumni societies and didn't feel like dragging him to a CAA Christmas Party so we decided to do our own this year.  We have enjoyed hosting Super Bowl parties at our house the last few years so why not host an Army-Navy game party with our friends.  Much more fun than going to Big Al's.
So we invited a few friends.  I was glad Cindy and Jonathan came as they have a West Point connection with Bill.  Jonathan was Bill's fencing team sponsor and Cindy was his teenage daughter who liked hanging out with the fencers and wanted them to teach her how to do it.  I got to pull out some of Bill's things to decorate a little bit.  And we had a great time watching the game.  It was really close but unfortunately Army lost for the 14th year in a row.  Maybe next year???  We always say it and keep hoping that it will happen eventually.

After the game, we took Jeff, Julie and Chuck to Tommy O's for our CAA Christmas alternative party and had a wonderful meal there as always.

Jim West heard about a 5K fun walk/run on Sunday and he wanted the Blues Brothers to make an appearance.  So Bill and Jim went in their costumes and Chuck and I went along to support the cause as well.

It was great having Chuck here as always.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Military Wedding Anniversary

Today marks twenty nine years since Bill and I had our military wedding.  Just one memory from that day to share through this photo.

During the saber arch, it is customary for a saber bearer to tap the bride on the backside as she passes.  In this case, Rob knew that I knew of the tradition and decided to surprise me by hitting me harder than with just a tap.  It actually hurt a little when he did it.  Even through all those petticoats I was wearing and I turned around to tell him so.

This is the reenactment so that the photographer could take a picture from behind.  I was cringing waiting for it to come again.  But he was gentler the second time around.

Photo taken from a holiday party that we were at a few days ago.  
Happy Anniversary Bill!  Love you lots!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Hello December

It is that time of the year.  Time for all the holiday hustle and bustle.  I got the tree up on Thanksgiving Day.  Love seeing a beautiful lit tree in my living room every day.  God bless you all and wishing you a wonderful holiday season.

Breathtaking Beauty

Just a few recent photos of a flying trip we took.  We truly live in a beautiful state and it is always get to see it from the air.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

We wanted to spend Thanksgiving with more than the three of us.  Bill got in touch with Cindy to see what they were doing for Thanksgiving so we wrangled an invitation.  Cindy has never done Thanksgiving before.  Her former mother-in-law or her aunt has always hosted so this year she and Jim decided to spend the holiday at home.  Breaking with tradition, we had prime rib instead of turkey.  That set well with Bill and Chris since they aren't that fond of turkey.  I didn't necessarily miss the turkey.  But I do love stuffing so that is one thing I did miss from the meal this year.  They made a lot of things and is was definitely a fantastic meal.  I made my contribution of pumpkin bread, gluten free pumpkin pie so Cindy could eat it, and cranberries.

It was just the five of us for dinner itself but Cindy's dad and brother's family came for dessert.  And they brought a friend and her son with them.

Julia is turning six on the 30th so she got to open her gifts from Aunt Cindy.  They were cute and wanted their picture taken together.  I didn't even have to ask.

The Packers played the Bears.  That was a disappointing game that they should have won.  It was an exciting and close game right to the final seconds.  But what was so special about the game was having Brett Favre's jersey number and name unveiled during the halftime ceremony.  I love that Brett chose to share this day with Bart Starr.  He has wanted to do this for over a year and when Bart had his heart attack and strokes last year, it was looking like maybe it wasn't going to happen.  They decided to postpone until last night hoping that he would be able to come.  When Brett met with Bart earlier that day, he was worried that Bart wasn't going to be able to do it.  But when the time came and he and Cherry with driven out in a golf cart and the fans went wild, you could see the joy on his face.  He had come back to his adoring fans.  And given his health, this would probably be the last time he came back to Green Bay and Lambeau Field.  Still brings a tear to my eye to see the images of that moment.

And so that was our Thanksgiving, time with family and friends and football.  Just as it should be.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

North to Alaska

Went to Alaska for the first time this week.  I have wanted to go to Alaska for a very long time.  Bill and I had made plans to go to Anchorage and Denali shortly after we got married but those plans fell through when I got orders to move to Massachusetts so Bill help me move across the country instead going on our vacation.  I have also wanted to do an Alaska cruise for a long time but it just never seems to work out to do it.  This week I got to see one stop on the Alaska cruise itinerary anyway.  I went to Ketchikan for work.

It was a really quick trip.  I was only there for 36 hours.  And in meetings the whole full day that I was there.  With it being late fall/winter, there isn't a whole lot of daylight this time of year either.  My only real chance to see the town in daylight was when we went out for lunch.

My flight from Portland to Seattle was exciting.  The weather and winds in Portland and Seattle were pretty bad.  Almost the whole flight was bumpy--just a few minutes of relatively calm conditions when we got above the weather.  The pilots really earned their pay that day.  I was so glad to get on the ground.  I don't know how they landed without us flipping over.  We landed on one tire first, bounced and then finally landed.  And the wind was blowing so hard, the plane was shaking.  Even loading onto the 737 to go to Ketchikan--the plane was shaking from the wind.

Flying into Ketchikan--it was already after sunset but it was just light enough for me to see all the islands and mountains and how incredibly beautiful it is up there.  I love flying over the San Juan Islands.  Flying over the islands of B.C. and Alaska was just like that only 10 times or maybe even 100 times more beautiful.  Made me want to take that cruise all the more.  Some day.  The airport itself is on an island across from the town of Ketchikan.  So you have to take a ferry to get across to town.

Checked into my motel and linked up with the rest of my team and we went out to dinner at Bar Harbor.  It was snowing while we were eating dinner so that was fun to see.  But it didn't last long.  In the morning, I took a walk hoping to get some pictures before I went to my meetings at the hospital.  But it was still too dark for that.  It has snowed a little bit--just about 1/2" but enough to make it a little slippery.  I was glad I had taken my snow boots with me.

It was fun going to the hospital to meet some of the nurses and techs there.  I actually got to go into the OR for a bit.  Haven't done that in a really long time.

We went downtown to Annabelle's for lunch and the sun was out.  I am told that this is really unusual to see the sun there but I took advantage of it and while I was waiting for my lunch--I went across the street to take a few pictures.  Annabelle's is a cute little spot to eat.  It is located in a hotel that was built in 1927 so it has the tin and stained glass ceilings that are so great about that era.

By the time I got out of meetings again that night, it was dark.  After a big lunch and leftovers from the night before to eat, I didn't want to go out to dinner but the hotel had a manager's reception and nine of us from the team ended up going to that to have some wine and snacks.  And a few got dinner.

Up bright and early in the morning to catch the ferry back to the airport to get home.  And the sun came out again and was beautiful to see the mountains next to the runway catching the glint of the sun.

Flying home from Seattle, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen's looked so beautiful with their new coats of snow.  I worked on this layout for a storytelling challenge.  Thought it would be a good choice and tell the Klicktat story of the Bridge of the Gods, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.

I think I am home for awhile now.  But will probably have more trips to Bellingham and Ketchikan over the next several months to get ready for their software go-live.  Glad to have made my first trip to Alaska but definitely has given me a taste of wanting to see more.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Veterans Day Celebrations

The Vancouver Veterans Day Parade was last Saturday.  I debated going.  The forecast was for rain but when I left home, it wasn't raining yet buit by the time I got downtown it was.  I decided to go anyway.  I didn't stay for the whole two hours but probably an hour and a half.  This year was the first year that they had the "Run to Remember" which kicked off right at 1100 when they fired off the cannon.  The Air Force started off the actual parade.

Always sad to see the Gold Star families holding the banner for their loved one that died in the war.

Junior ROTC.

Lewis and Clark Young Marines 

A WWII and Korean war vet

More vets 

I think just about every Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops marches in the parade every year--rain or shine.

The 1st Oregon

I got soaked even spending a portion of the parade on the porch at the Grant House.  But it always feels good to go to honor the veterans.

Our friends, Jeff and Julie, had their annual Veterans Day dinner last night at Willamette View--where Jeff's parents live now.  This is the 14th year that they have treated their veteran friends to dinner.  Our group has gotten smaller over the year as our friends die or get old enough that they aren't able to make it anymore.  But it is always nice of them to host dinner for us every year.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Army-Air Force Game

Graham is in his first year at the Air Force Academy.  It was painful to put "Go Air Force Beat Army" on this layout.  Bill went to West Point and we were both in the Army.  We always cheer for Army--definitely not Air Force.  Sherrill sent this picture of Graham saying that this was a picture of him coming off the field after doing push-ups after one of the Air Force scores.  In typical fashion, Air Force beat Army--again.  The score was 20-3.  Fun to see pictures of him as a cadet though.

Vancouver Rotary Festival of Trees 2015

The judging for the Festival of Trees took place last weekend at Divine Consign.  Bill's contribution to the FOT is organizing the judging and they had a bit of a reception for the Rotarians to come to pick the Rotarians' Choice Award as well.  There were at least four trees that had fun birds and animals in them.  I enjoyed all the trees but these little critters captured my heart.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Saints Day

I'm not big into celebrating Halloween anymore.  Especially now that the boys are grown.  We actually try to go out to dinner during trick or treat time--at least a portion of it.  It was such a rainy day that we actually didn't get any trick or treaters last night.  At least while we were home.  Pouring down rain does not make for a fun Halloween experience going house to house.  Interestingly enough, I do enjoy all the costume pictures I have seen on Facebook this year.  Especially when they are really clever unusual costumes.

Something I really used to enjoy doing with the boys at Halloween was to go to Ghost Stories at Officers Row.  They don't have it anymore but there were always wonderful vignettes about the history of Officers Row or Vancouver.

On the new scrapbooking site that I have been frequenting, there was a scraplift challenge yesterday.  I picked a layout that a woman from Wisconsin did of old work crew photos.  I loved the layout when I saw it back in August and I used that as a stepping stone to redoing this layout of Tunnel City.

So my Halloween contribution to this year is bringing these "ghosts" back to life by scrapbooking them.  I never got to meet any of these great and great great grandparents of mine.  They were gone long before I was born.  But Tunnel City has always been a fascinating place to me.  A place where family has lived for three generations.  A place that used to have two railroad tunnels and still has one after one of them collapsed.  One of the things my mom liked to do when one of her friends came back to Wisconsin from Washington, D.C. was walk through the tunnels.  Totally a bad idea from a safety standpoint with a bunch of children along.  And I think there are signs warning against it.  But it was always a fun adventure when we did that.

So scrapbooking these photos were the way I celebrated my Halloween this year.  I hope you all had a terrific weekend celebrating the holiday in whatever way was enjoyable for you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Bark If You Are a Packer Football Fan

Maddy is a recent convert to football.  Tom has turned her onto the Packers and the dogs have gotten into the action too.  Ariel had a scarf that she wore.  Marian bought her a sweater for Christmas last year.  Sadie is joining in on the fun this year.  Maddy and the dogs participated in the Spooky Scram on base last week.  They did the 1 mile run and won the female costume contest with Maddy dressed up as Jordy Nelson, Sadie as a rufferee and Ariel as a football.  Super cute and clever.  GO PACK GO!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nursing School Revisited

A couple months ago, Dad mentioned that Sherrill was interested in going to the UW-Eau Claire Nursing School 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration.  I mentioned it to Bill and he encouraged me to go too.  Neither of us wanted to go if the other didn't so we were happy that we had each other to go with.  I hadn't been back to Eau Claire in six years.  Sherrill hadn't been there in longer than that.  And we have never been there together since I graduated 31 years ago or gone to any of the nursing alumni activities.  So we were looking forward to seeing and spending time with each other and reminisce.

I flew into Eau Claire and got there a day before Sherrill did.  So I rented a car and drove down to Tomah for the day.  I made stops at a couple of cemeteries to pay my respects.  Unfortunately it was raining pretty hard and I didn't really feel like doing much wandering to find everyone like I normally do.  I didn't have that much time and wanted to get to Dad's house as soon as I could as well.

Visited with Dad for a bit and then went to lunch at the Chinese restaurant in town with Dane, Dad and Shirley.  Aunty Karen and Uncle Ray wanted to see me so they came over to Dad's in the afternoon.  They brought Kendall with them and we went to pick up Lacie at school.  Went down to see Darren and Tess and Mandy and Mallory in the late afternoon.  I had to see the new rabbits and was surprised to learn there were two guinea pigs and a hamster to add to the mix as well.  Had a quick supper with Dad and Shirley before heading back to Eau Claire so I could pick Sherrill up at the airport.

Sherrill and I spent the day walking around campus a little bit on Friday.  Went to the bookstore to get some new Blugold attire to wear to the football game, explored the new Davies Student Center which was pretty impressive and went downtown to see what was new there.  We walked along a new little park there which was fun.  And went to the mall to do some Packer shopping.

We also had lunch with Mary Falkner and Tammy Falkner Eckhart and one of her sons.  It was a lot of fun to have lunch with them and catch up.  It had been five years since we had gone to the Falkner reunion they hosted in Hatfield and seen them there.

Friday night was the Nursing Gala.  It was pretty well attended but most of the alumni that were there were either older or younger than us.  I was disappointed because I was hoping maybe someone from our classes would be there.  Although it was a little hard to tell who might have gone to school with us.  Appearances do change after 30 years and there were quite a few people there.  I haven't kept in contact with anyone that I went to nursing school with so I was really hoping I would at least see one person I knew.  But we saw a few of our instructors and enjoyed hearing some of the stories of the past 50 years.  There were alumni and instructors there from all five decades.  We left as soon as the program was done since we didn't really have anyone to catch up with and wanted to rest up for our big Saturday.

Some of the pictures from the University were from Friday and some from Saturday.  We went out onto the bridge for a little bit to take pictures of the river and of the campus from that perspective.

 There were a few beautifully colored trees to look at.

After the Nursing Walk, we had breakfast in the school of nursing and had tours.  Sherrill was especially interested in seeing the simulation labs.  Part of her job at Wright State was working with the simulation labs there.  Certainly different than what we had available 30 years ago.

It was so sad when the Council Oak came down during a storm in 1987.  That tree had a lot of meaning for the University and the School of Nursing.  It is on the seal of the university and on our nursing pins.  It is also where the nursing students hung their uniforms during graduation week.  It was wonderful that they planted a new tree to replace the old one.  After dedicating the tree and promising to protect it for seven generations (or 300 years), it was almost taken out to put in the new Davies Center.  The nursing school protested and said they couldn't remove it so they had to go back to the drawing board and move the Davies Center by a few feet so that the tree could be saved.

Putnam Hall is where I lived for three years.  Sherrill also lived there three years.  We lived two doors from each other for two of those years.  What I liked about being in Putnam was being a lot closer to classes than those that stayed in the dorms on the Hill.  I really liked not having to climb the Hill every day.  And I loved having my sister live nearby.

Sherrill and I went out on Putnam Rock to take a few pictures.  I love watching the water go by and feeling like you are really a part of the river when you are on it.

Everyone but Tess was able to come up to Eau Claire to see us.  We had lunch at a pub before going to the homecoming game.  There was a lot of great Packer decorations and Sherrill wanted a picture taken with the Spotted Cow sign.  The girls didn't want to go to the football game so they went shopping at the mall instead.  

It was the first time in five years that all of us were together.  So we had to take a picture.

And got one of Dad and Shirley too.

Eau Claire's football team hadn't won any games yet.  In fact, they lost by a lot in most of their games.  But they held their own against River Falls in the homecoming game.  The offense struggled and gave up four turnovers but the defense played really well and kept the team in the game until the very last seconds and only lost by a score of 10-7.  We really enjoyed the band performance.  They are big--like 350 members.  And they put on a really good half time show.  We even saw them marching on campus after the game.  

So it was a quick trip.  And didn't get to see everyone I would have loved to see.  But I enjoyed hanging out with my sister and my family for the time I was there which was wonderful.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Vancouver-BC That Is-The Other Vancouver

Christopher has been in Bellingham for two years and hadn't been to Vancouver, BC yet.  It has been a really long time since Bill and I have been there.  We went to Vancouver a couple of times while we were dating.  We got engaged there 29 1/2 years ago when Expo was there in 1986.  Besides Expo, we had gone up to Grouse Mountain on the Skyride, Stanley Park, and the Aquarium in the past.  We were having a hard time deciding what we wanted to do.  We just wanted to go to Vancouver.

We arrived on Friday night by plane to Bellingham.  It was IFR the whole way so no pretty views.  Christopher picked us up and we had dinner at Boundary Bay Brewery before heading to bed to rest up for our adventure into Canada.

So off we went Saturday morning bright and early to get through the border crossing without too much waiting.  Once you get to Vancouver, there are no freeways which is kind of strange.  It is such a big city.  It takes awhile to get through it.  We were looking for someplace to have breakfast and tried to find some place but realized we had no Canadian money to put in the meter.  So that was a little stressful trying to find a place to eat, trying to find nearby parking and finding someplace to get change before we got a parking ticket.  After eating a fast food breakfast at Tim Horton's, we decided to get out of downtown and head to North Vancouver.

We saw advertisements and signs for Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and thought it looked interesting.  So decided to stop.  It was pretty expensive--$37 per person Canadian.  But it was kind of a cool park.  The original suspension bridge was built in 1889.  It has since been replaced with a newer one.  So many people there and on it at the same time.  It sways a lot as you cross it--very disorienting.  Chris and I did okay but Bill didn't like it at all.  Gave him motion sickness.  After getting across, he wasn't looking forward to going back.

In addition to the suspension bridge there were some newer "attractions".  The Treetops Adventure and the Cliffwalk.  The Treetops Adventure had bridges suspended between trees to walk above the ground and look down.  The Cliffwalk was built along the cliff on the other side of the river and part of it curved away from the cliff all together. They also had a raptor exhibit with an owl, raven and hawk.  It was pretty neat to get up so close to them.

Grouse Mountain was nearby and Bill and I remember being impressed with the views so we decided to do it again.  It was pretty expensive as well.  Around $50 per person Canadian.  We went up on the Skyride which was pretty cool.  Takes just 5 minutes to get to the mountain plateau.  We had lunch on the patio looking at the view of Mount Baker and the North Cascades, the city of Vancouver and Vancouver Island off in the distance.  I had poutine for the first time for lunch.  It is a Canadian dish that originated in Quebec--french fries, cheese curds and brown gravy.  It was actually pretty good.  Chris says that they serve it in Bellingham too being so close to Canada and I did see it at a food cart there at the brewery we went to after we got back.  The rest of the time we just walked around the plateau a bit to look at the wood carved sculptures, the views from various locations and tried to see if we could spot the bears in their enclosure but we think they were sleeping for the day.  They have lumberjack demonstrations and other things at various times but not while we were there.  By that time, we were tired and ready to head back to Bellingham.

After winding our way back through Vancouver for an hour, we made it back to the border after about another half hour drive.  We didn't stop at Peace Arch Park but Chris took a picture of the arch for me as we waited in line to go through U.S. Customs.

Bill wanted to go to Wander Brewery for some beer.  Luckily they had some cider on tap.  No beer for this girl.  I had some black currant cider which was quite yummy.  It was early but we were all pretty tired.  Chris took us back to his apartment to show us as we hadn't been there yet to see the inside.  I haven't met his roommate yet either.  But Luke and his girlfriend were leaving as we arrived so I didn't get to meet him this time either.

Had a yummy breakfast at Mount Bakery then back to the airport to fly home.  I was thinking as we were driving back to Bellingham yesterday that it would have been the perfect day to go up to Mount Baker and it would have been a great day to take pictures from the air.  Today was pretty good but I usually am disappointed by my pictures--not the same as what my eyes see.  But here they are.  We truly live in a beautiful state.

 Mount Baker
 San Juan Islands
 I think this is Lopez Island but not sure.
 Mount Olympus has some snow on it but not many of the other Olympic Mountains yet.
 Mount Rainier
Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams behind it.

So we had some nice family time, got to get out of the country for part of a day and see some pretty beautiful country from our plane.  Great weekend!