Friday, September 30, 2011

Arlington National Cemetary - Washington DC Trip

The guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier change every 30 minutes and it's an honor to view it. The young men who guard the tomb are so precise in their movements, solemn, and proud. It was touching to watch the ceremonial changing of the guard.

There are white tombstones everywhere, it is a sobering view. The cemetery covers 624 acres.

The Lost Heroes quilt is inside. It's beautiful even before you know the significance. You'll see one face/name from each state.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Washington DC Monuments

I thought this photo of someone taking a photo of a father/son (I'd guess) in front of this monument was so touching. A bus load of veterans and their families were touring while we were there. This is on of my favorite photos of the Washington monument. You can see 2 colors of brick. After it was started they ran out of money and the Civil War interrupted the building...when they got back to it they could not find the same brick.

The Lincoln Memorial at dusk. I didn't get many photos there because my camera battery died. I was wandering around looking a different things, inside and out, when I realized that it was time to get back to the bus. I quickly walked back to the bus....only to find it wasn't there........what am I going to do? I could call my roommates and ask where they are....when I remembered we were to meet at the base of the I speed walked back to that area (almost dark by now). Alas, I was NOT the last one back. Many times I was.... I am not a 'hand holder' and often wander off alone to get a different view....I'm a big girl. I keep the group in sight and can walk fast to catch up so I don't worry. Several times the person in charge of our bus came to find me....I WAS on the way. Oh well, someone has to be last. ONCE I was the 3rd one on though!!!

I like this photo of the Washington Monument also.

View of it in the background of the WWII memorial. That was a beautiful sight.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More Washington DC

One of the first sights of DC that I saw were the 3 spires of the Air Force Memorial...made of stainless steel and the tallest spire is 270'. One night we had dinner at an all you can eat buffet........always a hit with the bus tours and seniors! Not only was there seafood, but Chinese, and beef. The crab legs were very difficult to eat because there were not any utensils provided to crack them open. They were tasty though! Our tour guide told us to walk away with 2 plates......and we all listened. To be honest I choose mainly seafood and stayed away from the vegetables, normally I try to eat a somewhat well balanced meal...but hey, I am on vacation!

We stayed at 2 different hotels, each providing breakfast for us. The first on served us a delicious breakfast (fresh fruit, hash browns, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, danish, waffles, etc) YUMMY!!! The one we spent most of our time at had lousy food (in my opinion- and I seldom complain about the food). On our first night we had chicken, red potatoes, rolls, corn, and some noodles with hamburger stroganoff (I presume), stale rolls. We all agreed that hamburger helper would have been an improvement over what they served, it was greasy and tasteless. Every morning the bread products were dry. Breakfast consisted of only carbohydrates: breads and oatmeal or cold cereal, not even peanut butter for protein, and some apples or oranges. The person in charge of our tour complained loudly and we had eggs the 2nd morning............they were the worst thing I have ever tasted, so we went back to the oatmeal.

I was so hungry for a real egg that one day for lunch I ate the purple egg from the picked beets.

I am not sure what this building is, but I love the beautiful architecture. We saw such beautiful old and new buildings.

Doesn't it look like this would be a fun way to tour DC? We encountered rain on the way there and on the way home, but were blessed not to have any rain on the days we had to walk around

Have you ever gone on a bus trip? This was my first and I learned:

  • bring a pillow

  • if you are not wearing long pants you might need a small blanket (the a/c can be cold in some areas of the bus)

  • dress in layers so you can add or remove

  • bring snacks

  • if you get carsick take Dramamine

  • bring something to do

  • earplugs and an eye mask might come in handy if you want to sleep

  • move your feet & legs every once in a while

  • be prepared to stand in line, A LOT

  • you are going to get up early every day and go, go, go (most of those 'old people' can)

  • you will get to see a lot of things, but not for very long

  • you get to make lots of new acquaintances

  • expect the unexpected-something could break down, the itinerary might change

  • a prepaid cell phone acts differently than that of your friends who have a regular calling plan (mine kept telling me I wasn't authorized to call that number {my home} and to call customer service {whom I was not authorized to call either}. Thank goodness my friend let me use hers to call customer service. I was told to remove my battery and then put it back. It worked like a charm after that. Just thought you'd want to know.

  • bring a map of the area you'll be driving through

  • turn off your cell phone alarm or it will revert to snooze every 10 minutes for at least an hour (I finally turned it off)

Yes, I'll go on anther bus trip. The bus is cramped and driving can be boring, but the driver can take me many places that I won't get to otherwise. I had my Nook color along and finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet Nest by Stieg Larsson. It was good, I liked all 3 of the trilogy. Lisbeth (the main character is very unusual and intriguing). I read almost all of the first day. I am a quiet person (got that from hubby who never talks and didn't even ask about my trip) and can not talk constantly.

Monument photos coming up next.................

Washington DC Bus Trip

Wanna come along on my trip to DC on the bus?
Then read on.....If you're lucky enough to score a front seat this is your view. We changed seats every day so had a different perspective every day.

Most of the time the bus is pretty close to EVERYTHING, it's kinda neat to be able to look down onto the car and truck drivers. One of our gals noticed that 7 out of 10 drivers were on their cell phones. Tour bus drivers are special people, especially when driving in the big cities.

Cute house we saw on the way. There was a 'unique' antique store on the other side of the road.

Bathroom breaks are a very important part of the trip.

We are all in the same Red Hat group and on the same was fun to travel with friends. Since I am tall I very fortunate to be able to have a seat to myself for much of the time. I did a lot of reading..........I can read on the bus!!!!!

More DC photos in my next post..............this is just the beginning of the trip.....stay tuned.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What Makes Me Sad

I was just thinking about some things recently and they make me sad:

  • When family members steal money from young children

  • When grandparents live 1/2 way across the country and aren't able to watch their grands grow

  • Parents that don't realize that their children will grow up so FAST and don't put their interests on the back burner - it really doesn't take long and the children grow up and you can get back into doing 'your thing'. Children need to learn a sport, attend dance class, take tae kwon do, be a part of a scouting organization, join other words interact with peers outside of the classroom.

  • Sarcasm, I am so sick of hearing it, what is wrong with sincerity?

  • People who say their children have the right to decide if they want to go to church/Sunday School (learn about religion) - how can they choose something they don't even know about???

  • Husbands & wives who are not friends & don't enjoy each others company

  • When a person goes out on a limb to help someone improve their life and the recipient says (in essence) "not interested"

  • The fact that we have all these electronic devices to connect us with others and we spend so much time on them but don't have/make time to talk/interact face to face with people

  • It makes me sad to see/hear about so many kids that have ADHD and have to be on meds. I guess it helps and I will get use to the idea...but it's sad to see a personality disappear. Sometimes the disorder is outgrown, let's hope so

  • It's sad to see the older generation struggle with health and money issues. They have done so much for us (personally) and for our country

  • When children are told they have to keep a secret from a family member

  • Parents who don't read or stress the importance of reading to their children

  • When children don't have a childhood home to remember b/c they move every year or so

  • and does make me sad that hindsight is 20/20 and we can't see through the murky water when we are living in it. It's too bad all this so called knowledge comes to us when we are past raising our children.

No, I am not trying to preach or get onto my soapbox again..........just may think I do that too often.

By the time this posts I should be on my way to Washington DC. You can 'bet your boots' you'll hear about/see photos of the trip when I return (returning on Tuesday evening).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Let Them Eat Pie/1 More Day

Are ya hungry? Nobody left Gwen's house hungry last night! We had our Red Hat meeting at her home. The gals in charge of Oct decided to have a 'pie party'....and we had pie!!!Lemon pie, key lime pie, pumpkin, raspberry, apple, cherry, caramel apple, coconut cream, Recces peanut butter, my peanut butter & chocolate impossible pie. (the one with the nuts on top of the chocolate) Would you expect anything less of me???? I did get compliments on it so am posting the recipe. I wanted something easy to make since I worked Tuesday and today, am busy getting ready for DC.

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cups baking mix
2 large eggs
1 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips (1 cup) for topping
chopped peanuts if desired for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a large bowl on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally until fluffy, one minute (do not use blender). Pour into an ungreased pie plate, 9 x 1 1/4. Bake until puffed and dry in center and knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly. Heat chocolate chips in 1 quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Spread over pie. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 1 hour.

We also had homemade chicken pot pie and quiche. Everything was de-li-cous!!! Our 'party favors' were the 4 pieces of pie that we got to take home with us.

I'm leaving early tomorrow so I still have to: give myself a manicure, check the weather one last time and finish packing, change wallets, fold laundry, clean the bathroom, do the dishes, do some straightening up.....maybe that's all??? The Lord provided us with some nice rain over the past couple of days so I do not have to water plants. Hubby is suppose to go to Nigeria again for work, they told him 2 weeks ago that he was going, but he still doesn't have any definite plans. Maybe he'll leave while I am gone.

See ya next week! Cross your fingers that riding on a bus all day full of people doesn't drive me batty!

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Getting Close - Day 3

It's beginning to look like "I'm leavin' on a jet plane".....or maybe just a bus. I need a check list:

  • pedicure X

  • hair low lights X

  • jewelry X

  • camera batteries charged X

  • camera/Nook/phone chargers X

  • journal X

  • pillow for the bus ride??? mine's kinda big

The next 2 days I am working, so today I want to have my bag ready to go except for the last minute cosmetics/personal care items that get thrown in on Thursday morning. At least I don't have to weigh my suitcase....I don't think it would be a problem because we only have 3 days of sightseeing (IE. dress nice), the rest is bus time. I have a Red Hat meeting on Tuesday night and have to bake a pie to bring along. I have 2 in mind...........I'll clue you in on what I make later (especially if it turns out good). Today I have to get my prescription refilled......a task I dislike because they make me wait. It shouldn't be a problem except for the fact that I call it in ahead of time so it will be ready...but I always have to wait. I don't like waiting. There are numerous other errands to run also, it's my usual Monday MO.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Over Packing (as Usual) - Day 4

Where do the days go? Only 4 more days and I'll be on the bus. Since I'm working Tuesday & Wednesday and have a Red Hat meeting Tuesday night I pulled out my suitcase yesterday and started picking out clothes to take usual I have way too many things. I looked at the itinerary again and see that we will be on the bus for 3 full days, that means I don't need to be fashionable, just comfortable (and maybe not stinky? LOL). We'll only be in DC 2 days and will stop at Pittsburgh Monday on the way home. I do not need 6 different outfits! The denim capris I'm taking only need different tops to change out..............why, oh why, do I always take too many outfits? I'm kind of obsessive that way.....if I have one of something I think I need to have 100. I guess I like to keep my options open: in case I change my mind, depending on what the weather is, or for any other strange reason. I spent most of yesterday afternoon trying on clothes and matching outfits.....clothes laying all over my bed. I think tomorrow I will rethink & unpack. Does anyone else take way more clothing than they need? Or are you decisive and take only what you need? How do you pack? Does anyone have the 'clothes envelopes' for clothes? You put your clothes in and fold the 'bag' up so your clothes don't move around. I guess that is why they wrinkle. If you have tried something like that I'd like your opinion.

One day when grandson J was here he rushed out of the bathroom "The happiest day of my life!"....I'm wondering what happened in the bathroom that made him so happy. He noticed he had a 'wiggly tooth', his first one. Friday afternoon it fell out, he was so excited that he called me at work to tell me. Isn't it wonderful to be so excited about life's simple pleasures!!!! Wish we could all be more like that. J got a new laser gun yesterday and he slept with it all night.......such pretty lights and noise....that's why the gun is in the photo with him.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 7 - I'll Be On the Road Next Thursday

Only 50 degrees today........feels warmer than yesterday though because it is sunny and not so windy.

One week from today I'll be riding on a bus feeling claustrophobic with all the people around me. But I'll be really excited!!!! I can't wait. Today I uploaded all my photos to Snapfish and cleaned off my memory card so I can fill it up in DC. I downloaded The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest and a frommer's travel book about Washington DC to my Nookcolor. The first 2 books in that trilogy were good so I am expecting this one to be the same.

I am anticipating really enjoying all my Nookcolor has to offer while I am on this trip. I can read, play games (although that's very low on my list of things to do), check email, update my facebook status, and even read your blogs. There will be no blogging from me.....can you imagine typing on that tiny virtual keyboard with one finger??? Not me.

Productive day so far: I washed the sheets and hung them out............I love sun dried sheets on my bed. For supper I made home made potato soup (perfect makin' & eatin') in autumn and for dessert we had lemon bars (from a box).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Call Me Strange - day 8

Reality (along with autumn weather) is sinking in. I AM going to DC....what will the weather be like there? I'll check early next week and then finalize my packing. Monday was hot....mid 80's, yesterday it was 20 degrees cooler and today even a bit cooler, making a light jacket necessary. I hope the cool weather does not follow me to DC. You can call me strange if ya want, but before I go on vacation (or before a big event) I whiten my teeth. I drink LOTS of tea and that makes my naturally un-white teeth look worse. I usually use the Crest White strips but tried a gel this time...not so sure I like it....time will tell. I colored my hair tonight and will maybe put some low lights in this weekend. I don't like the one, solid color look.

Last night our book club discussed the book The Help. Everyone liked it. Most of us have always lived in WI and away from the colored issues during the 60's so we really didn't know much about how our parents felt about civil rights. I loved the book and recommend to everyone. We met at a sports bar/restaurant and I shared an order of Nachos with a friend....that 'hit the spot'....little did she know I had been hungry for Nachos. Our book club is always fun and sometimes we even talk about the book.

I could eat that plate of Nachos right now!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Getting Closer - day 9

Slowly working my way down my 'to do' list. Last week I started taking Hoodia (500 mg per day) for more stamina/energy on my bus trip to Washington DC. What I found is that I don't sleep as good and am soooo tired during the day.....(see my post of a couple of days ago). I am a reasonably energetic person, especially if my back is OK, it's not really hot, and I get enough sleep. I checked online and called the health store/pharmacy that I purchased it from and was told 'yes, it could be the cause of my poor quality sleep', so I am not taking it anymore. I picked up some gum and snacks for the trip. I did some research online, looked at a book, and at the brochure and the decision has been made (I'm pretty sure) regarding whether I am going to the Holocaust Museum or the Smithsonian. Right now it looks like the Smithsonian/American History is my choice. I've read several books that have dealt with the Holocaust era and I don't think I need to see it, they were depressing enough.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Countdown begins - day 10

Sept 22, 2011
I am leaving on a bus trip to Washington DC!!!
Today I realized it's week........10 days away.........
Preparations have begun. I got my hair cut last Friday, not too short, just a trim. A trip meeting was held last week so I have the itinerary in hand. My tote (AKA large purse) and small cross body bag have been ready and waiting in the bedroom corner for months. I wore my maxi dress to church yesterday and loved it.........bff said it looked OK (I'm sure she would have told me if I looked like a total dork)....should I take it to DC??? I only wear dresses to church or a holiday event. Had a massage this afternoon with a new neck feels better, but it will be back to tighter than tight in no time.

Sputnik fest & weekend fun

A quote from the Sputnikfest poster............this is what it's all about.
"Its early morning on September 6th, 1962 and the skies over Manitowoc are illuminated with an eerie green light. A bright object, burning like the sun creates an arc and plunges toward earth crashing smack dab in the middle of 8th Street!" This is the first year I went. I took the boys and my SIL and her son met us there.

This is the Rahr-West Art Museum/Mansion where it's held.

The aliens come in droves to Sputnik fest.

Grandsons S & J were lucky enough to calm these folks down for a photo op.

Huge pile of sand where the kids dug for space aliens.

There MUST be something in this big hole I dug!!!

We found the whole of one of the space ships and convinced them to pose with the boys.

Anyone could come and create a space ship or creature for FREE. The area was full. On the 2nd Saturday of the month the museum always has a free wacky workshop. I take the boys as often as I can. They enjoy it. Afterwards we look around at the art that is displayed that month.

Grandson S enjoying himself.

Later that afternoon we went to our youngest Grandson's 1st birthday party. I had to leave early so I didn't get a photo of the cake or gift opening.

Here we are.........I don't see him very often.

The birthday card, made with Stampin' Up punches...........I love punches.

Sunday afternoon grandson J wanted to have his cousin over so they could strart their alien club. I made a club house using my "fabulous" (NOT) clothes line and some blankets.

Surprisingly they played good together for a long time so Michele and I were able to visit and enjoy most of the afternoon. Weather wise it was a gorgeous weekend. I even got my car cleaned out.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tired/On the Other Hand

I try to post several times a week and I don't know why; it's not like I have so much vital stuff to say or that I have have hundreds of followers waiting in anticipation of my words or that my paycheck depends upon it. (key word "stuff", it's just stuff). Sometimes I just get tired; mentally, physically, and emotionally. My mind has been a blank lately....I don't have anything new & exciting to write about....the only 'fun' I have is with my grand kids and not everyone loves them as much as I do and wants to read about them. I get tired of spending every Saturday night with grandson J and doing things with Jalen & Skylar...but if I don't I miss them. I like to do things with them that I know their parents won't do. I get tired of the feeling that their parents could gladly do without me and the fact that I can't just call to chat and see how the kids are.

On the other hand I love the feeling of joy I see on the boys faces when we do something fun. I miss my other grand kids whom don't live close enough to spend time with on a regular basis.

I get tired of having so many responsibilities at work and being the 'go to' person. I use to have time to get my personal work notes up to date and neatly typed and think about what I am doing. I am always working so quickly that I fear I will rush through and make mistakes. Conversely I am proud that I am given responsibility and know what is going on and how to handle various things. On the other hand I kinda like 'being in charge'.

I get tired of being the social secretary at home.........oh, how could I forget? ...we don't have a social life. Hubby has his golf/sports buddies and I have my friends. I miss having couple friends and doing things together. On the other hand hubby doesn't say anything when I do things with my friends, such as my upcoming Washington DC trip. But I sure would like to do some traveling (even a day trip) with him. He is just not that type of guy.....and I get tired of that.

For instance, some of his golfing buddies are coming up this weekend. Two of the guys are staying guess who gets to clean??? Yup -me :-( On the other hand he did do a good job on the lawn for a change. But it sure would be nice if he'd help with some of the inside stuff. Our ice maker froze up and I had to haul all of the food downstairs to the basement freezer/fridge. I didn't even bother to mention it to him b/c all he'd say is "who do I look like? a refrigerator repair man?" I know what has to be done so I did it. In fact if anyone is going to do repairs/hang pictures etc around here, chances are it will be me. I wish someone offered hands on home repair classes....I'd LOVE that. I get tired of not having a man who does things around the house.

I get tired of people expecting me to remember their special days but they forget mine.

I get tired of people not saying 'Thank You'. On the other hand I am pleasantly surprised when I get a thank you card in the mail or a phone call.

I get tired of always being the one who has the notes/calender/schedule. I like to be organized and am a list maker. I don't like it when I am expected to be that person, on the other hand I am pleased when someone is appreciative that I do have the information.

I am just tired.........haven't slept good the past 2 nights....I made myself get up earlier than I wanted to because I have so much to do today....but I just spent 45 min on the phone with my SIL. And my knees hurt........not as bad as before but still a pain in the (knee) - sucks to get old. I'm off to get a haircut this morning, then to the library to return some overdue books (my fault and now I have to pay the fine), and then I get to clean. On the other hand I'm glad I have today off. Tomorrow I can sleep in BUT I promised my grandsons I'd pick them up and do something fun before their little brothers 1st birthday party.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Before & After

After 2 days with grand kids I decided to have a day by myself yesterday. I wanted to go to the BIG Cedarburg flea market but hubby did not want to, my bff wanted to go to, but after we talked about it we both decided we were broke and it would be best to stay home. It was cloudy and cool (high 61) so I went into the basement to clean my craft area. I only LIKE to be there when it is cloudy, unless it's winter. I worked at a leisurely pace but got my paper cutter area cleaned, computer desk, and 2 work tables cleaned off. I should have taken a before shot of my stamping was piled 6" high and now it is CLEAN!!! If only I'd learn to put things back when I am done with them. I have a tendency to pull out this, that, and the other thing when I am working and then leaving it out.

I found this faux wood desk thing at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago, I got it for $1 b/c the 'finish' peeled off along with the price tag (see right corner).

I painted it black.

This is my stamping table, the one that had 6" of all sorts of stuff on it. It may look like a mess to you, but this table has not been this clean in YEARS.....and this is only one little corner of my crafting area in the basement. I don't know what got into me today but I finished what I started on Monday.

I had 3 of the rotating utensil caddies (round white thing) but narrowed it down to one. It is amazing what happens when you put things where they belong! It would be so nice to have custom shelving for my crafting supplies.....but that will never happen. One can dream, huh?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making the Best of a Not so Nice Day

It's Labor Day Weekend, the last holiday weekend of summer....what did you do? What did I do?

The owner of Unique Flying Objects (kite store) in town puts on a huge 2 day kite fest - KITES OVER LAKE MICHIGAN - and I have gone for almost all of the 6 years...maybe even every one. People come from ALL OVER, it is a big deal! Hubby won't take me out of town to any fests so I can usually get him to go here. The past 2 years he has refused to go, he'd rather golf with the guys and then go home by his TV or football cards.........GRRR...?_&%$#%!

So my sister in law brought her son and I had my 2 grandsons and we went by ourselves. Saturday night they release several hundred sky lanterns over the lake, but this year it was too windy.

We brought our jackets and anticipation for good things. The thunderstorm on the radar screen went south of us but it was a little too windy, and a shower managed to show up later.

The did get the tesla demonstration in..............home made lightening. For a change we had front row seats. The bonfire was cancelled and sky lantern release was rescheduled for Sunday afternoon. We also watched the fireworks. Of course they did not compare to the Independence Day display, but hey, I love fireworks.

The weather was strange, sometimes sunny and warm then later dark clouds were overhead. My grandsons playing in the the end of the day all 3 boys were soaked. How can boys NOT play in the water. Being the 'always be prepared' grandma that I am I did bring extra clothes, and every single item was worn.

One of the bigger kites.

Everyone was taking this guys photo.

See the ship in the middle of the kites? There were several sail boats out and even one larger ship with kite flyer's aboard it.

Just as the fest was over it started to rain....and then the rainbow appeared.

The weather wasn't perfect, hubby wouldn't come along, the boys didn't always get along, but Michele and I did the best we could to enjoy the afternoon. An acquaintance of hers even gave us some food coupons and that helped cut down our food costs.

I don't think we are doing anything for Labor day.