Monday, March 26, 2007

My Favorite Part of Spring

Spring officially arrived last week. We have had one warm day and several cooler but comfortable days since then. Today is a bit chilly and overcast but the grass is trying to get greener and there are a few daffodils here and there. The birds are singing more and more and the days are getting longer.

I keep looking but have not yet seen my favorite part of spring -- the happy blossoms of tulips. These flowers make me happy when I see them. When we still lived in Spokane I would peer down on my tulips and try to will them to bloom. Those three to four weeks of colorful blooms were always so special especially when the flowering dogwood bloomed at the same time.

Last year we were living in an apartment in Tacoma. I bought pots of planted tulips for the deck and purchased fresh tulips almost weekly for the inside. It was while living in Tacoma that I got to do something I had always wanted to do. April 15 was a cold and rainy Saturday but we decided to drive to La Conner and see what remained of the tulips. The Skagit Valley is famous for its tulip festival and it is an amazing site toe the fields and fields and row upon row of beautiful tulips. I would recommend this to anyone visiting the Pacific Northwest in late March through mid-April. It is a beautiful area by itself but when the the tulips bloom it is almost magical.

(photo was taken 04/15/2006)

Friday, March 23, 2007

addendum: Another Day, Another Deployment

It the last post I covered our loved ones in the Army and left out our Navy member. My niece Stacy is a member of the US Naval Reserves and has been for several years. Before that she was an active duty sailor and served in the Persian Gulf during that conflict. Stacy is a "spit fire." She was tiny little girl and she is not much bigger now. She was and is very agile and athletic; a fine gymnast, volleyball player, BMX rider, skier and golfer. And, she has a mind of her own.

When this war started Stacy was a single mother. It looked for sometime that she would be deployed. It was a difficult time. How could she leave her son for a long period? I remember my mom's worry about her and about my nephew and niece's husband. We all worried about them.

Stacy, thankfully, has not been deployed for long periods during this war. She has since remarried and is enjoying life with her two sons and husband in their new home.

Like the others, I am so proud of her, her service and who she has become.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another Day, Another Deployment

This never ending war is always on my mind. My niece's husband has been deployed three times to the area -- once to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq. My nephew has been deployed to Iraq (Kuwait) and is scheduled to go again in the late summer. And, today, my friend's son deployed. All of these men chose the US Army as a career. But the career and personal development part keeps being shelved for deployment to the Middle East. I love and respect these guys so much. It is that I simply despise this stupid war.

When I think of these men it is of younger beings. My nephew was a cute white haired little guy who hated shopping so much that he would get downright belligerent about it. Outside of that, Max was a kind and gentle little boy who grew into a wonderful man. He joined the Army right out of high school and is nearing the 20 year mark. He has seen duty several times to Kuwait and the Gulf War area, Iraq, Korea and Germany. Max and his wife are the proud parents of three adopted children. They have two boys and just adopted a baby girl.

I did not know Jon, my niece's husband, when he was a boy. I just know that his wife and family are very proud of him and his commitment. They have two beautiful children -- a girl and a boy.

Now, our friends' son, is another story. He and my daughter are the same age and they have been mostly fast friends since they were six years old. My fondest memory of them was one afternoon I looked out the living room window and there they were sitting on a limb of tree discussing in their seven year old way the world and world affairs. That was the way they were and continued to be as they grew up. Perhaps one of the happiest days for all of us was the day Nate graduated from West Point. Erica graduated from Johns Hopkins two days earlier. They savored their joy that is evident it the picture at the intro to this post. They were ready to meet the world.

Nate deployed today. His wife and young son await his return. Their second child is due this summer. Our thoughts and prayers are with them always and with all of those who are serving. Be safe and God's speed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Few Hours In Washington, D.C.

It was time to take Frankie back home and so yesterday Bill and loaded up Frankie and Bentley and went to Arlington where we left the dogs while we spent a few hours in the District going to the World War II Monument and to the Roosevelt Memorial. It was a beautiful day albeit cold and very windy. That did not detract from the beauty and significance of these two sights. Besides, it is always inspiring to see the Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson monuments.

When I first started this blog it was in part to help me compile thoughts I had of my mother. She has been gone for a few months now but I am constantly reminded of her and my dad when I see old pictures or think about things I am doing and wonder what they might think. They grew up in the Depression and World War II marked the onset of their adulthood. Those two eras defined the strength of that generation, That strength is evident in both of the monuments we visited yesterday.

Dad enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after Pearl Harbor. He served in the South Pacific -- Guadacanal, Iwo Jima, etc. Because of this I was more drawn to the Pacific side of the World War II Monument. Each state is represented and each front is represented in this memorial. There is much to take in and one visit in the cold is not sufficient. We will go back when it is warmer and the water fountains are turned on so that we can see the full beauty of the space.

Nearby is another memorial we have not visited. I had wanted to visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial for sometime but have always found something else to do. Besides, I was not expecting much. There was so much made of the statue of him in wheel chair that I thought for some reason that was all there is of the monument. How wrong, I was. First, the statue is pretty small. Second, this is a massive but unobtrusive work. It is inspiring and very symbolic. It is divided into rooms each representing one of his four terms in office. The first focuses on the emptiness of the Depression, the second on need for hope and the New Deal, the third on the War and the fourth on Warm Springs.

My Dad never said much about Roosevelt. He always liked Harry Truman. But, my Mom really hung on his words. She is the one who always told us about listening to him on the radio and how sad it was when he died.

I have never been much of a Roosevelt buff. After visiting the memorial I think I shall study his words and works more closely. His leadership probably shaped my beliefs more than I have previously thought. Whether it is his "Four Freedoms" or words to encourage a depressed nation I think that I need to learn much more about this man.

How True!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Warmer Weather and Four-Pawed Family

The last couple of days it has been in the high 70's. I have really been wanting to get out and do some yard work. But, alas, it is to cool off tonight and we go back to some colder temperatures for a few days. We have managed to open up the windows and air the place out a bit and went to Dover yesterday to get the car serviced. We took a different route, for us, home and really enjoyed the green starting to show in the fields of many of the farms. You can tell that some of the trees are getting ready to bud and there are a few daffodils up.

We are sitting our "grand doggie" while Erica and Geoff take a few days in London for their anniversary. It has been quite an experience dealing with our active puppy Bentley and the more senior Frankie. They are getting along quite well and even the cat is showing some signs of acceptance.

Today we decided to take the dogs to the beach. Since Frankie is from Miami he seemed to be quite energized by the activity. Bentley, on the other hand, did not like the stairs on the board walk and didn't seem to enjoy the beach as much as Frankie and Bill. For Bill, there are no bad days at the beach.

Here is Bill enjoying taking the "boys" down the water line.
Catch the wave action in this video I took.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Clouds, Water and Birds

Wind beneath his wings.
From the day we started on our trek east I have been almost mesmerized by clouds that have appeared along the way. It intrigues me so that the landscape seems to change with the clouds and light that shines through, reflects off of, or just fills the voids. The clouds when we were travelling through the mountains were strong and almost bold. The storm clouds are always ominous and foreboding. The clouds over the ocean tell a story of the day.

One day last week we went over to Cape Henlopen State Park and walked the length of the fishing pier. This was the first day in several weeks that the temperature was warm enough to venture a bit without a hat and gloves. It was warmer but the wind was blowing very strongly. Since I had my camera with me I took some pictures of what was really interesting to me on that day -- clouds.

I have also become very fascinated but the changes in the water and sand with the temperature, wind and sunlight. Here are some pictures taken the same day from the pier featuring clouds and/or water. And, my longtime favorite but ever elusive, birds.

From the pier Birds, water, light clouds & lighthouses Churning Water

Friday, March 09, 2007

New Family Member

On Wednesday we welcomed a new member to our family. He is about 3 1/2 months old and is about 11 pounds and is a bundle of fur. We have named him Bentley.


He is a Lhasa Apso with an apricot coat with brown tips. The breed standard says that he should have black eyes, nose and lips. He has green eyes, tannish nose and lips. Oh well, not to standard just like the rest of us. He should fit in just fine. He really has taken to Bill and already is showing signs of wanting to be a watch dog.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Just Strollin' Through

Sometimes I am able to post some very good pictures on this site and other times they are not so good but truly represent what I am trying to convey. Today, I must post a picture or two of a visitor. This fellow has been roaming through the neighborhood most of the morning and because he is usually too far away, it is snowing steadily and I am trying to focus the camera through two panes of glass and a black window screen the images are not as sharp as they should be.

Our visitor, a red fox seems to be stalking local rodents. As he is ready to pounce his tail fluffs up very much so. It has been pretty fun watching him off and on this morning. I have only seen red fox in zoos or running across the highway in southwestern Montana. This fellow keeps coming back to a patch of trees in the adjacent lot and then trots on through our yard. Maybe it is because it is snowing that he is spending so much time here. Whatever, I am going to go now and see if I get a better picture.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Just a quick posting to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns for Eileen. Eileen went home from the hospital yesterday and is now focusing on recovering. The kidney is working well. Jose is also doing well. Also, our black kitty George Ann is getting healthier even though we are having difficulty adjusting the insulin. She has gained 1 1/2 pounds and is looking much better than she was.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

More of the Surrounding Area

It was kind of crusty and cold on Tuesday but we had not been out for sometime. We decided to drive to Ocean City, Maryland. It is just over 30 miles to there from here. Because we arrived in this area at the start of winter and now winter is just ending, I am still trying to visualize the area in bloom and "boom." The trip south to Ocean City is mixture of very tightly populated areas where one beautiful house is built almost on top of the next beautiful house or condominium unit and quiet almost undisturbed stretches of Atlantic beaches. The above picture is of beach area near the Indian River Inlet. There is some road and bridge reconstruction going on in the area but there is also great care to protect the dunes.

Ocean City is on a narrow strip of land that seems to go on forever. We drove all the way to the pier and amusement area. I have to say that the cold day and it being an off season time of year made for a lonely scene.

Here we are at the pier. It is so very gray out and uninviting. It makes the uninitiated (us) wonder what all the big fuss is about.

Just a few feet away from where the last picture was taken is this scene of the beach. I am just beginning to imagine how many people will be setting up their umbrellas here in a couple of months.

If you listen carefully you can almost hear the sounds of delight and fright of the summer visitors.

When I put on my "business advisor" hat I look at this picture with sadness because there is no commerce going on or so it appears. But, these shops are closed for the winter and will be opening in just a few weeks. For some it will be in just a couple of weeks. Then they will bustle with visitors buying t-shirts, Italian ices, hot dogs, jewelry and more.

For me the number of hotels, motels, apartments and condominiums on this strip of land called Ocean City is numbing. Yes, I know there are places where the impact is greater but on this cold day in February with most just contractors in view I had to wonder "Why?" It will probably become more evident as summer approaches.

A sampling of just some of the motels and condos.