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!