Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday's Fave 5

This week - it took me a couple of days to recoup from my Wahington DC trip. I ended up taking medication for the flight home - and boy did it wipe me out. I went to bed by 9:00 Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

But the best part about a vacation is the coming home part. It was so good to sleep in my own bed again. And I missed my husband. And I missed my kids. And I can't begin to tell you how I missed my sweet grandbabies. And I missed my sweet dog Josey too. She really missed me - Chuck said she wouldn't leave his side the whole week. She never does that. And now that I'm home, she won't leave me. If I open the door, she zips right out, determined to go with me. LOL It's good to know you are loved.

Let's see - it's time to name the five favorite things about the week. So here goes.

1. I loved being missed by my family and my dog.

2. Knitting - I started Tyler's little sweater and it's really fun. I also have started on some Christmas ornaments. Knitting has become so relaxing and fulfilling to me. I love the feel of yarn and I love wooded knitting needles.

3. I received my first acceptance on a magazine article proposal! I'm going to be published.

4. I took the day off work Thursday to babysit my little grandson Tyler. What a fun day we had - I just can't give him enough kisses. I also got to spend time this week with my sweet little marshmellow - Miss Ava Claire. She is so soft and light and as sweet as can be.

5. I'm turning 50 tomorrow. And I don't mind a bit. And I'm going to be spoiled by my family. They are taking me to see Disney on Ice. I love ice skating and I love Disney - what a perfect gift.

I also love Friday's Fave 5! If you would like to participate or read other lists, just click here and you will go to Living To Tell the Story.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fridays Fave 5 - #3

I will be hard pressed to focus on only five of my favorite things of this week. Spending a whole week in Washington DC has certainly been a highlight of my life.

1. I love the way I saw the White House for the first time in my life. I was walking down the street with my sister. We were finding our way to the Lincoln Memorial. Not realizing where I was, I was just walking along. I happened to glance over to my right and there She was in all her splendor! It took my breath away. “The White House!” were the only words I could manage. I was so in awe that I totally didn’t even think to take a single picture!

2. I have run into several young people, either working or visiting the national sites and I have been so impressed with them. Young kids visiting the Supreme Court asked very intelligent questions. Other young people told me that they were visiting because they felt it was important to stay informed. It gives me such hope for the future knowing we have young people like this.

3. I loved the metro. How fun to get to so many places in such a short amount of time. Riding with students, residents, visitors, and employees made it all so interesting. I have never seen so many men wearing black trench coats using their Blackberries!

4. Spending time with my sister. We both have busy lives and families of our own. It’s been so nice to just get away and reconnect as sisters.


Go here to check out some more Favorite Friday 5’s at Living to Tell the Story.

Washington DC - Day 5

We woke up full of anticipation for this day. After a wonderful and full week in our nation’s capitol city, we were going on a tour of the White House and the Capitol. We began at the White House Visitor’s Center. Even if a person doesn’t tour the White House, they should visit here. We proceeded across the street to the White House. We had been told that we could not take our purses or cameras so I was not able to take any pictures again. We entered right away and began our tour. It was such a wonderful feeling to walk through such a place of history. Portraits of the past presidents and first ladies lined the walls. Beautiful fresh flower arrangements graced the tables. It is obviously a very old building. I was very surprised at how small it was. Other than very high ceilings, the rooms were small and you could actually stand in the middle and see through the window of both sides of the house. The East Room, where all the state dinners are held, and where President’s have lain in state was smaller that our church’s fellowship hall! When President Washington designed the house he determined that it would not rival the palace in England. He wanted it to be “not too grand, but just grand enough”. It’s a beautiful place.
Next we ate lunch at the Old Ebbitt Grill, a famous Washington bar and grill. My sister had been especially anxious to eat here, as she had heard a lot about it. Apparently, many of the Washington establishment frequent the place.
Following lunch we headed to the Hart Building to meet at our state Senator’s office to prepare for our tour of the Capitol. The Capitol has a whole underground subway system that connects all the buildings, so you never have to walk outside. We were unable to view the actual Senate or House chambers sine they are not in session.
Following this tour we headed out on the metro to Old Town Alexandria. What a charming town this was. I could have spent much more time there than just the afternoon. We rode the trolley down King Street and visited some of the shops.
Finally, we went back to the hotel and ordered a pizza. My legs feel like twisted stumps. I have never walked so much in my life as I have this week! We are currently enjoying the BSU game on ESPN. Go Bronco’s!
Tomorrow is our last day here in this wonderful city. We are going to Mount Vernon before we head to the airport in the early evening.
I feel so blessed to have gone on this trip. I have enjoyed myself immensely and am already planning when I can come back and next time bring my husband with me. He is a history buff just as I am – we will enjoy it even more together.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Washington DC - Day 4

Today was a busy, productive, and very fun day. It started out with my sister leaving for her meetings and my plan was to stay in the room and write. So I set up my laptop. But wait. I think a quick trip down to Starbucks for a latte would be nice right about now. It's pretty cool having a Starbucks just downstairs. So down I went and while I was there one of those pumpkin cream cheese muffins was just looking at me out of the glass case. So I grabbed it along with my SKSFCAL. Back to my room I went. Realizing I couldn't really type and eat a muffin, I decided to pick up the book I have been reading. About 3 chapters later the maid knocked on the door. She wanted to clean my room. Who am I to slow up somebody's work schedule? So I invited her in and while I sipped my latte I watched her make my bed.

Oh I could get used to this.

Okay, I really need to get some writing done. But first I need to check my email. And then I need to read some blogs. And I really need to finish knitting that little Bronco's hat I'm making for my little grandson Tyler. And by then my sister was back from her meetings and I hadn't written a word. I was tempted to feel bad about myself and then I remembered. I'M ON VACATION!!! I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT TO DO!!!

So we geared up and decided to set out looking for FOX news.

I know - it was kind of unexpected for us too. But last night as we were watching the news we realized they were broadcasting from right here in Washington DC. And we thought wouldn't it be fun to find their studio and maybe watch? So, off we went. We walked past the capitol and realized really quick why its called Capital HILL. We walked uphill until our legs were burning. We found all kinds of executive buildings and great things to look at but no FOX News. Suddenly, out of nowhere, The Supreme Court of the United States of America appeared. Oh. My. Word. It was wondrous to behold. I just had to stop a minute and take it all in. The Supreme Court. Of the United States of America. Right there in front of me. It was amazing.

There were some demonstrators out front - pro-life demonstrators. I watched them for a while thinking. While I wondered if they were really making any difference at all for their cause, I marveled that they have the right to do what they were doing. It's part of what makes this country so great. We all have a voice. I cheered them on.

Here's a picture of me holding onto a HUGE marble column. I'm the black spot up at the top of the steps.

We went inside - I was surprised to learn that we could. We happened to walk in just in time to join a group that was going into the Supreme Court itself. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but we sat in the chambers and learned all about how the Supreme Court works. The Supreme Court actually is in session right now, and if it had been a day that they were hearing a case, we still would have been invited to go in and observe. Isn't that incredible? Unfortunately, their next day to hear a case isn't until November 3. The design and architecture was amazing. There are friezes all around the ceiling depicting law and justice. There is Moses standing with the ten commandments in a long line of lawgivers. The east wall frieze depicted good and evil. I was very frustrated that the lecturer compared good and evil to Star Wars - not what was in the Bible. Our early Justices would be rolling in their graves.

After eating lunch in the cafe in the basement we continued on our quest looking for Fox News. We walked, and walked, and walked. We circled around, we doubled back, we explored new turf. And finally -

We were elated. For a minute. Until we entered the building and the security guard said, "No, you cannot go in without an appointment."

Alrighty then. We thought about mentioning what great fans we are and we wouldn't do anything we shouldn't. But those security guards in this city - well, they take their jobs rather seriously.

So off we went. We ended up downtown and my sister wanted to see the house where Abraham Lincoln died. I had been there on Monday, but I was more than happy to go again.

Okay. You've been patient enough. Now I'm going to explain the picture you have all been wondering about. I'm going to tell you about how my sister happened to run into the politician you see her with.

First, let me tell you that my sister is not a democrat. But she couldn't help herself. She went absolutely giddy. She begged me to take a picture. She couldn't wait. So I did. And then we started taking pictures of each other with many other famous people.

We had found Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum! They didn't have the republican candidate. I'm not sure if there was anything to read into that or not.
I remember visiting one of these wax museum's when I was little and lived in Florida. I was intrigued by it. After going through it today, I don't know why - it didn't seem all that great. I guess it's just how things are when you are young.

On our way home we decided to check out the National Archives. My goodness. We saw the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution. We could take pictures but not use flashes. My camera didn't do a very good job. But here are a couple of photographs.

You know, mostly on this trip I just keep being reminded of what a blessed nation we are. The adjectives that come to mind are just not enough to describe the feelings of pride and thankfulness that wells up in my soul. We can go about our lives and make all the choices we want to make; we can have families and love them and watch them grow; we can go to the church of our choice each weekend and worship freely and loudly. And most of the time we don't think anything about it because somehow we tend to assume that this is how it should be. But we don't often take the time to remember why it is this way. I have always been patriotic. My country has always been important to me.

But after this trip, I hope to never think the same about it again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Washington DC - Day 3

The weather changed today. It was very breezy and downright cold. Burrr....

I went to the Pentagon today. A young lady who grew up in our church works there now - she is in the Navy. She gave me a great tour. I was surprised by a couple of things. First, the building is not tall. It's only 4 stories high but it is huge. It is like a small city all by itself. Second, planes fly right overhead, all day long. Considering what happened there on 9/11, I was taken aback by that.

I wasn't allowed to take any pictures and that made me sad as I passed the halls where many beautiful quilts were hanging. These have been made by families and organizations and even children as a way of remembering the victims of 9/11. They were absolutely beautiful and each one symbolized so much love and pain. I could have gazed at them all day long.

The newly built memorial is beautiful too. It was hard to walk through the rows of benches and read the names and know how much they are missed.

This evening my sister and I went to the movie, The Secret Life of Bees. We really enjoyed it. I have never read the book and since I always think the books are better, I'm going to look for it at the used book store.

And we haven't yet decided what's on the docket for tomorrow, but we are tossing around a couple of ideas. It will either be one of the Smithsonian's or the National Archives. We walked past the National Archives tonight on our way to the theater and it looks just live the cover of National Treasure!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Washington DC - Day 2

I'm usually an early riser. But today I didn't wake up until 8:05 a.m. My sister got up and ready and left for her conference and I was sleeping like a log. I didn't even hear her. And it's still a little weird for me each morning to think that the President and his wife are rolling out of their bed just a few blocks down the road from me.

I really love it here. I love the history, I love the symbolism, I love the energy, I love the metro.

I also love room service. I love when we leave a room that looks like this:

and when we come back it looks like this:

I have never walked so much in my life. This was a new pair of socks this morning. Apparently I am suffering from the affliction "tourist toe".

I'll spare you the picture of the blister the size of Rhode Island on my right foot and the one the size of Vermont on my left.

You're welcome.

I'm so thankful I brought a second pair of shoes that don't rub on the blisters.

Today we went to the Holocaust Museum. I expected it to be very moving and emotional. I have decided not to say very much about it, one, because there simply are no words, and two, because you need to see if with fresh eyes. I will say that I was impressed with the architecture of the building which was extremely symbolic and evoked strong impression and feeling in and of itself. You cannot take pictures there and I wouldn't have wanted to. There is also a portion of the museum for children called "Daniel's Story", and it was incredibly moving as well. If you go to Washington DC, don't leave without seeing this place. When my sister and I left it took some time before we could really speak of it. It's still difficult.

After lunch we split ways again. I decided to try the yarn shop that was closed yesterday. This time I didn't bother with the taxi since I have the metro all figured out now. The shop, on Capitol Hill, was a disappointment to me. It's called Stitch DC and I was expecting a first class knitting store. But it was small, the selection of yarn and supplies was extremely limited, and the prices were outlandish. Feeling pretty comfortable with traveling alone, I made my way to Bethesda and found a charming little knitting shop called, Knit & Stitch = Bliss. Their prices were much more reasonable and they had a wonderful selection of samples and yarns. While shopping there I found the most adorable patterns for baby sweaters and yarn. So of course, I was thinking of my little grandbabies and purchased this:

I am going to start Tyler's first so he can wear it right away. Then will come little Ava Claire's. I actually started casting on while riding the metro!

This evening we opted to just stay in our room. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and are taking it easy tonight. Tomorrow I will be visiting the Pentegon. A young woman who grew up in our church now works there, and she is going to pick me up and take me on a personal tour.

One major disappointment today - we learned that the Smithsonian Museum of American History is closed for renovations.

I guess that just means that I'm going to have to come back again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Washington DC - Day One

This morning I decided to look for a yarn shop.  So I flagged a taxi, (I love how that sounds so I'm going to say it again.) 
I flagged a taxi.  
And who knew there is a yarn shop on Capitol Hill?  Maybe Laura can go to a yarn shop after all.
Unfortunately it was 9 am and the yarn shop doesn't open on Mondays until noon.  I could have flagged another taxi, but the day was beautiful and I decided I could find my own way back to the hotel.  So I took off down Constitution Avenue and here are some of the sights I saw:

Not your typical Monday morning walk.

I met my sister for lunch and we took the metro to downtown DC and ate lunch at The Hardrock Cafe. We shared a plate of fajitas that was to die for. In fact, we have decided that we will be going there again this week. We parted ways since she had to get back to her conference. I found the Ford Theatre, although I was disappointed to discover it was closed for renovations. However, the house across the street where President Lincoln died was open. It truly amazes me how such strong emotion is evoked when I see these places where people lived and died so many years ago. Of course I never knew this man, but I felt such sadness and loss when I viewed the room he died in. A true American hero.

After that I took the blue line and went to Arlington Cemetery.

I was five years old the day President Kennedy died. I lived in Florida. And I distinctly remember it happening. I remember sitting on my grandfather's lap as we watched the funeral procession. I remember him explaining to me what the empty boot on the horse meant. I remember seeing the horse drawn caisson proceed. I remember seeing Mrs. Kennedy grieve so bravely and I clearly remember watching Caroline Kennedy because she was so close to my age and she had just lost her daddy. I remember seeing the grave at Arlington Cemetery and the vision of the eternal flame fascinated me.

Today I saw that eternal flame in person. And it was moving. So very moving.

For a moment today I was five years old again, sitting on my grandpa's lap.

Back to the hotel where I met my sister. We went to Union Station to have dinner. Union Station is where the Amtrak train is of course, so we were on the lookout for Mr. Biden because he takes the train back and forth to work everyday. We didn't find him. But if I would have seen him I would have told him he ought to consider taking the metro because those train prices - well, they ain't cheap! I figure he pays about $200 a day for transportation.

So off we went to view the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and The Vietnam Memorial.

This city. It's something else.

Washington DC - The Morning of Day 1

I have a good life.  

My morning routine consists of :
waking up with hubby, 
 watching some news, 
getting ready for work, 
feeding the dogs while hubby feeds the horses,
 kissing goodbye, 
driving 30 miles past fields and orchards passing various types of slow-driving farm equipment,
working all day

My morning routine does not usually consist of: 
having a whole hotel room to myself to get ready in while listening to TRAFFIC outside my window, 
checking in with the blogs in my jammies (we don't have wireless at home)
sitting in Starbucks with a SFSKCRL grande latte and a pumpkin cream cheese muffin
watching taxi's and people crossing crosswalks 
plotting out my day to do ANYTHING I want to do
contemplating flagging a taxi to take me to a knitting shop (I need some more yarn)
knowing the White House is just a few blocks down the street

Which has me wondering, does the president and first lady ever get to leave that White House?  Can they run to Starbucks or go shopping?  If Laura needs some yarn or wants to see what's new at Target, can she just go?   I haven't noticed any secret service or anything around here.    I'm thinking that for all the glamour and notoriety, they probably have a very lonely lifestyle.
Poor things.  

I'm sure I have a much better deal.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Washington DC - We have arrived!

We made it!

I don't know why I'm always surprised when I get to where I'm going.  But I am. 

I handled the plane.  My sister, I think, was a little surprised to find out how much of a chicken her big sister is.  

We landed at Ronald Reagan National Airport and I was, um, surprised about how small it was and how, well, how unattractive that airport is.  It has some really funky white walls made out of rocks that slope down into the halls.  I thought maybe it was under renovation, but apparently no.  That's just the way it looks.

We took a taxi to our hotel and that was when the real fun began.  The taxi driver got a little lost and we drove around the block a few times looking for our hotel.  Hmmmm....

We finally found it and my sister gave him her visa card to pay.  After we got into the hotel she realized he never handed it back to her.  We were now in DC with no credit card!  We called the airport, the taxi service, and the credit card company to no avail.  She finally had to cancel her card.  We have other ways to pay - we are okay - but to say that she was a bit unnerved was an understatement.

We took the metro to Union Station for dinner.  What a beautiful old building that is.  It was amazing to walk through it.

Did you hear me say "we took the metro"?  For a rural girl who comes from a state with one interstate in it and where public transportation consists of a few commuter buses - well, I think I sound rather savvy!

Tomorrow I plan to find Arlington Cemetery.  By myself.  Using the metro.

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fridays Fave 5 - #2

Yay! It's Friday! I told myself this morning as I got out of bed, "I can do one more day." Sometimes my job, well, it just gets in the way of my life.

As far as my life goes, today is the day to share 5 special and wonderful things of the week.

1. These two are the most special things in my life.

Any day or time I get to spend with them is the most special time of all. I seriously just turn into a big mooshy pile of moosh when they are around. They were both at my house when I got home from work on Wednesday - it just made my day!

2. I began a knitting class with my two little neices this week. They are in the second and third grade and they saw me knitting last week and instantly begged me to teach them how to knit. What an honor! So I bought them each a pair of knitting needles, a skein of yarn, and a little bag to hold their supplies in. This week we worked on starting with a slip knot and casting on. They are to practice doing this every day until they can do it with their eyes closed. Next we will proceed to the knit stitch. I'm still kicking myself for not taking a picture of them - they were so cute! I told them that God makes girls with something inside of us that makes us love beauty and lots of times He even gives us the gift of desiring to make beautiful things. By learning how to knit they are following God's desire for their lives. They listened very seriously and then Kaitlyn said "Maybe that's why I like to color too". Smart little lady.

3. Speaking of knitting, I finished this little hat this week for my sweet little Ava Claire's bald little head.

This is another hat I made from the wonderful book Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson. This book is FULL of wonderful projects.

4. Last night Chuck and I grilled steaks on the grill and made sauteed mushrooms to go with our baked potatoes. It was so good - we are getting rather good at this empty nest thing!

5. My final bit of favorite nes is that I learned today that my friend Becky, The Butler's Wife is back blogging again. This just made my week - I missed her so much! Welcome back Becky!

So that's my favorite 5 of this week! Next week will be different. I haven't said much about it because I tend to live in denial before I have to board an airplane. It's that pesky fear of flying thing. But on Sunday I am boarding a plane for a week long visit to Washington DC. I'm going with my sister who works for the government. She goes to Washington frequently and has wanted me to accompany her for a long time. I had a free plane ticket because of my last flying fiasco so I decided to go this time. I get to stay in her room (paid for by tax dollars), eat on her meal stipend, which is very generous and she never uses the whole amount (paid for by tax dollars), and I am going to visit all our national sites which are totally free (paid for my tax dollars.) I'm taking a tax-free holiday of sorts!

So pray for me on Sunday as I board the plane. Just ask God to give me peace.
And I will look forward to posting from our nation's capital. I have never been there before so I am really beyond excited.

It's just that I have to get on the plane first before the excitement can overflow.

Oh, and if you enjoy this Friday Fave 5 post, you can find more here. Who knows, you might even want to join in the fun.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just Some Fun Photos

I just thought I would share some fun photos I took over the weekend. I finally finished this little sweater and hat set for sweet little Ava Claire! I was so fun to do and really very easy.

Our little man Tyler is growing so fast. What a sweetheart he is. His hair is changing too - it's becoming much more coarse - not so fine - and it lays down now!
It wasn't long ago when it stuck up all over the place like this:
Now it is doing this: Here is Jess holding both her little neice and her little nephew.
And I'm teaching Jess how to knit, so she's working on a little pumpkin hat for Tyler. I told her it's important to hold her mouth just right as she knits!
Here's some pictures of the beautiful Miss Ava Claire. I'm telling you she is just the sweetest little girl.

More pictures of the little man.

Chuck and I have decided that these babies are really our babies - their parents are really just the nannies. That works for me!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fridays Fave 5

I've been seeing this fun Friday meme for a while and I decided to join it this week instead of doing my usual Potpourri Friday - you know, shake things up a bit!

I'm nothing if not daring.

So anyway, Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story wants us to share 5 things that made this week special and fun. So here goes:

1. Since I have been doing a lot of canning I have had to rearrange and clean out my pantry to make room to store it all. I went to WalMart and found some wire shelving that TRIPLED my pantry space - very inexpensivly I might add. My pantry now looks so clean and organized I love looking at it. In fact, last night I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water and I couldn't resist opening my pantry doors and peeking inside! Do I need to get a life or what?

2. I got my first rejection letter on my book proposal. I know that might sound a little weird to add to my "special and fun" week but it did. I totally expect lots of rejection letters - every writer gets them. To me this means that I have finally started the whole writing process. If you don't write - you for sure will never get published. I truly believe one day I will get the amazing acceptance phone call - but until then I'll just keep plugging away.

3. I have been able to see my new little granddaughter, Ava Claire, every day this week. It doesn't matter what else is going on in the world, one snuggle with that sweet smelling warm little bundle makes everything seem all right. I call her my little marshmellow because she is so light and sweet!

4. Our weather has gotten very cold. Even though I'm a summer girl - there is something amazing about waking up in the morning and being so snuggly warm under the blankets. I love when the bedroom is chilled and the bed is so warm! My sweet dog Josey sleeps beside my bed in a little kennel and these days even she doesn't want to get out of her warm blankets. I can't say I blame her - I would feel the same way if I got booted out the door to go potty every morning!

5. I have really been enjoying my knitting this week. I'm working on - what else?- baby things of course! I love knitting when the weather is cold outside. It makes me feel so domestic and creative. This next week I am going to start my family's annual Christmas tree ornaments that I make every year. I have a pattern for adorable tiny little Christmas stockings that are knit from wool yarn. I can't wait to start them.

6. Oh and one more thing! Boise State is on a roll again. They are undefeated this season. Tomorrow they play Southern Miss. It will be a great game. I was elated to discover it will be televised! My son-in-law discovered this week that IF BSU gets to play in a bowl game it will PROBABLY be the Orange Bowl. Guess what? The Orange Bowl will be in Florida - THE SAME TIME WE WILL after Christmas! So of course you know what that means! A bowl game!!! Me!!! Pretty amazing for a brand-new football fan!

So there - five (no SIX) special things about my week. If you want to read more or join in yourself just click on the picture above and it will take you where you need to go.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Canning Season

One distinct advantage (among many) to living in our neck of the woods is the tremendous amount of produce that is grown here. And this time of the year there is an absolute bounty of fruit available. I used to can a lot of fruit and vegetables to save on the grocery bill but I have become quite lax about it for the last 10 years or so.

However, with the economic situation as it currently is, it only seems wise to start stockpiling food again. My daughters agreed and asked if I would teach them how to can. So last Saturday we had a Family Fun and Canning Day.

Okay, maybe that's stretching it a bit. But we did have all the family, there was some fun involved, and we definitely got some canning done.

We did peaches with sugar and peaches without sugar, apples, and pears. The girls wanted some fruit without sugar so they could use it for baby food for the babies. They wisely don't want to add sugar to the little one's diets. We still have a couple of bushels of apples left but we couldn't get it all done on Saturday. So every evening this week I will do a little more.

Tonight my husband and I are doing applesauce while we watch the debates. I figure that's as good a time as any to pulverize fruit and squash the living daylights out of it.