Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My 7th Saturday In a Row

Here it is, Wednesday morning, but it feels like my 7th Saturday in a row! That's vacation for ya!

We have had such a great time, doing something special each day since arriving in Seattle. We've been to the Museum of Flight, where we toured a retired Concord, Air Force One, and others. We have taken the light-rail to downtown Seattle, shopped at Pike Place Market, and taken the monorail to and from the Space Needle, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Next up: Mount Rainier, where we drove yesterday. While it wasn't the prettiest of days, it was grand, just the same! We witnessed a couple of young deer, wild flowers, and some beautiful birds. Going to the end of the road - Paradise - is only some 5, 500 ft above sea level. We are no where near the top - some 14,000 feet, but we are witnessing the remnants of the winter snows - still a good 15 feet (or so) high. Marshall and Heidi made snow balls and threw a few. I've been taking many, many pictures, but will wait to post any until I am home, working on my own computer.

This morning, my sister and I are going to take a little road trip. We're driving to one of my favorite places in Washington state - Leavenworth. This amazing community was once a thriving railroad town, but when the route was moved, it began to decline. Community leaders took a big chance and completely renovated their area to a lovely Alpine Bavarian village. This will be my fourth visit to this special spot - first time in summer. It's quite exciting!

More later . . .

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Seattle Visit

Early Thursday morning my sister and I flew to Seattle, via Denver. Both flights were very nice. Shortly after takeoff from Denver, we flew over Ft. Collins where we witnessed the tragic fires that have been driving residents from their homes. Prior to arriving in Seattle, we had clear views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and finally Mt. Rainier - in all her splendor. It was a beautiful sunny day in Washington state.

Coming up the escalator shortly after disembarking our plane at the Seattle airport, we were met by Marshall and Heidi. Marshall ran straight toward me with his arms open wide. "Hi, Grandma D!" What a joy! I was so surprised to see how much taller he was than when I last saw him last in November. All of my grandchildren are growing up so fast. I want to shout, "Slow down!"

Vacation is always such a different feeling for me —  taking me a little while to switch over. This is probably due to me working full time and filling most of my evenings and weekends with many activities. Yesterday was a very relaxing day —  and I could have sworn it was Saturday all day long!

This morning Heidi and Chad are in downtown Seattle running in the Rock and Roll half marathon. It would have been fun to go down to watch them at the start and then the finish, but with rain in the forecast, we all decided it wouldn't be easy to entertain Marshall during the interval. Turns out it is not raining as I write this - in fact it's quite bright. I wish them well!

We have some plans for our time out here.  Later . . .

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy 7th Anniversary, Peder and Sarah!

Seven years ago yesterday, we celebrated the marriage of Chad and Heidi at their BBQ get-together at Chad's parents' lovely home in Hudson. It was a beautiful day! They had eloped to Hawaii in February and wanted this BBQ as their "reception." All of our family was there for this special occasion.

Also, on this fine weekend, Peder and Sarah, who had become engaged a couple of months earlier, invited the immediate family to a brunch at Sarah's home for Sunday morning, to celebrate that occasion. When we arrived at the invited time of 10 am, they weren't there. Hans, Rachel and Josiah had spent the night with them and told us Peder and Sarah had gone to the grocery store and weren't back yet. Also invited was our good friend, Jodi, and a couple of Sarah's girl friends. At 10:15, Jodi reached into her purse and took out an envelope for each family member. We opened them to read: Please come to the ??? park on the Mississippi River Road by 10:30 to attend our wedding. "What?? Your wedding?"

Yes, they were dressed in wedding clothes, there was a minister, flowers, and music. They invited us to their "Surprise Wedding!" It really was fun, and there was no stress about what to wear, etc. You can see a photo of it here.

Oh, and one more happy event of that "big weekend" was hearing this news from Hans and Rachel, who would soon be moving to Japan: "We're expecting a baby!"

I will always remember this happy weekend seven years ago.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I don't like storms

Knowing storms were predicted for our area yesterday — a cold front hitting the high heat (92 degrees) we had yesterday — I did a couple of errands after church and headed home to spend the rest of the day inside. First, however, I moved my potted plants from the front of my home to my covered patio in the back - insurance against any potential high winds and hail. I had everything on the patio tucked closely to my home.

At 8 pm, warnings started appearing at the bottom of the TV screen. Skies were getting dark. Trees were swaying. At 8:25 I powered down my computer, grabbed by flashlight, and headed out to the patio to have a look. I sat in one of the chairs and watched as the wind took the trees back and forth. A big piece of paper appeared on the lawn and danced around a bit. And then it began to rain. It was light at first, but was followed by flashes of lightning, bigger gales of wind, and heavier rain. I went inside to check on things. Suddenly the power went out - for about 10 - 12 seconds, but enough to cause all of my digital clocks to flash. I returned to the patio, where the rain was coming down in torrents. I watched as backdoor neighbors turned on lights to look out. This heavy rain lasted about 25 minutes.

Back inside, I began to set the time on the appliances - only to find out the fuse on my microwave had blown. It's an "over the range microwave," which means it has to be totally removed from it's site to change the fuse, and (get this!) to change the light bulb. No kidding! For the repair man to even cross my threshold, the cost: $90. Next, add labor and parts. For a seven year old appliance: No, thanks.

Try this experiment. Put a pad of paper on your counter and make a hash mark each time you use your microwave in a 24 hour period. You may be surprised to see how "dependent" we are on this machine that wasn't even around in most homes when my first born came into this world.

Solution to my problem: A new one is being delivered and installed on Wednesday.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

New patio - phase 3

Eight days ago, the cement to my new patio was poured. Yesterday was the first day I walked on it - and today I put some furniture and added some flowers and plants. It's so nice to not have cracked concrete any longer. I'm so pleased with the way it looks! A week from now, I'm told they will build the frame work for the screened porch. I know I'm going to love it when it's completed.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, my Chickadee's have moved away. It sure was fun while they were my tenants!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee

I'm fascinated by Queen Elizabeth and her family. When they're in the news, I tune in. I don't know what it is that has me so attracted, but I credit it to my heritage: English, Welsh, Scottish, and yes - 1/8 Swedish. Have I ever seen her? No. Have I ever seen any of the royal family? No. In 1981 I got up early in the morning to watch Lady Diana marry Prince Charles. Sixteen years later I was glued to the TV once again to view Princess Diana's funeral. This past spring, I toured the Princess Diana exhibition at the Mall of America. I'm so glad I had this opportunity.

I have been to Balmoral, and while there, entered the Crathie Church in which the Queen worships when at her summer castle in Scotland — entering through the door designated for the royal family, and sitting in one of the royal family pews. Was I breaking protocol? No, it was a weekday and the church building was empty. I have stood outside Buckingham Palace, like millions of others, and have been inside both Westminster Abbey, where 60 years ago Elizabeth was crowned Queen, and Saint Paul's Cathedral–the place of the wedding for Prince Charles and Lady Diana, but not during any assembly—merely as a tourist.

I would have loved seeing more, lots more, of the big celebration that London has been witness to this past weekend as the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. Imagine that? 60 years of doing the same job, always in the public eye, and maintaining such dignity. I admire her, and wish her many, many more years as Her Royal Highness. Congratulations, Queen Elizabeth II.

Friday, June 01, 2012

New patio — phase 2

Today when I came home from work, I found the concrete people starting to put the finishing touch on my new cement patio. Since the procedures were new to me, I found it interesting to stay in the background to watch. The foreman told me they poured 2 yards of high-grade cement to fill the forms. "2 yards? That doesn't seem like much." I was thinking of 2 yards of fabric. But he meant 2 cubic yards which he said was 2 tons. Wow! I had no idea. The patio looked quite smooth to me, but I was told they were waiting for it to dry a bit more so it could be swept? "Swept? Why would you change the nice, smooth surface?" He explained the sweeping adds a bit of texture, thus making it so the surface isn't slippery. Good idea.

While I went inside to get them a soft drink, the daddy Chickadee landed in the wet cement and left some little footprints. They were just smoothing it out when I returned and they told me what happened. I said I wouldn't have minded them being left in, but they said, "Not on our job. We want it flawless."

They'll return tomorrow morning to remove the forms.

If you look closely, you can see the daddy Chickadee sitting on the perch just outside the opening. He is so cute — and busy going back and forth with food for mama and the babies. Yes, I can hear babies in there now. I don't know when they were born, but I sure hope I'm fortunate to see them when they fledge from the bird house.