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.