Thursday, June 28, 2012

Catching up

 I suppose I should finish blogging about how much fun we had here.  A few pleasant surprises (not as humid as we were expecting).  A few not-so pleasant surprises (significantly more crowded than we were expecting) and finally some wonderful surprises (Not once, but twice Hubby ran into friends from his military days)

The first surprise happened with the help of his buddy Lee.  Lee knew we were coming, so he tracked down two other college buddies that Hubby had lost contact with.  Together we all enjoyed a great evening of food and fellowship at Lee's country home.  (honest, it was way out there in the country!)
The other surprise happened on our last full day in DC.  We were looking for a breakfast spot before visiting the spy museum.  As I dart into a bagel shop with the Things, I realize Hubby is no longer right behind us.  I retrace my steps outside where I find my usually quiet man chatting up two FBI agents (yes, we were right across the street from FBI HQ).  Seems one of the two men remembered Hubby from their Army days in the late 80s/early 90s.   Mr. O. and his co-worker had just stepped out of their office for a morning cup of coffee.  Imagine the odds?

the boys were awestruck when Mr. O. kindly offered them one of his business cards.  Still not sure which impressed them more:  the fact that they were talking to two FBI agents, or that their dad knew an agent?  

It should come as no real surprise that Thing Two no longer thinks he wants to be a marine helicopter pilot (yeah, we knew that dream had ended when we noticed how sensitive he is).   Nope, he is now thinking law enforcement is the route to go.  Was it meeting Dad's friend the agent?  Or the fact that during our visit to the Crime and Punishment museum, he managed to rock the simulator:  firing off 3 shots, with two being kill shots?  Or that the best part of the vacation was our adventure to the Spy Museum interactive exhibit where he got to be the spy?

All in all, it was a good trip....

And while I'm on this blogging roll....I should also mention how much fun we had here.  You can read all the details and reasons for my willingness to try camping here.   I'll just hit the highlights....

 The Things and I joined up with the Russians at the campground just outside of Grand Lake, CO
 Thing Two was all smiles...he's been eager to try camping for a very long time...
 We're still not sure how they managed it, but the campground owners had arranged for an exemption to the campfire ban that is state wide.  We think it was because we were camping in the middle of a field.  Just the same, it was unsettling to watch the embers spark up, knowing the danger and destruction that a simple spark poses to our very dry state right now.
 While Hubby was with Valencia, enduring the heat, we took in this little festival in  Winter Park.
 Milestone moment:  the oldest one has indeed surpassed his mama in height.  The scowl on his face reflects his dislike for chocolate:  he was hoping for a chicken festival I think!
Not matter how old you get, the appeal of climbing on the statue never grows old if you are my kids.

So while we are off having fun in the sun, I still must pause and say a word of Thanks to the countless fire crews and rescue workers that are hard at work here in Colorado.  We knew it was going to be a rough fire season.  The winter was mild, dry and warm temperatures in early Spring added to our worry.  Years of pine beetle destruction has left our forested areas primed and ready for the spread of wildfires.  Hot temperatures, high winds.  It is just too much to process.

On a personal level, we are safe.  But as our fellow residents are asked to leave their homes on a minutes notice, left waiting and wondering what will be left....our heart aches for them.     There is not much else we can do except pray:  for patience, courage and strength....and of course, for rain!  I would gladly give up this summer of fun, and return to work if it meant that the season of fires are finished.  If only it worked that easy....

It only took 30 years...

To make it into the yearbook....and as a "centerfold" no less!  I guess I can strike this from my bucket list!

(this double page spread was in the school yearbook.  I knew the yearbook kids had taken my photo and interviewed me.  Was surprised to see that I was featured as the lead article about teachers/staff.)

And no, that is not a very short high school student.  In addition to the 2400 teenagers assigned to my care, I also supervise a day care program that is held on our campus.  These little raptors are the children of staff within our district.  I still prefer the bigger kids, but I also enjoy the occasional visitor that is indeed shorter than I am.

Enough about work...back to summer vacation and relaxing I must go!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Before I was a blogger...

My summer project is to work on the chaos that is my basement storage closet. Sure, a walk in closet in your craft area sounds like a great idea:  until you have it so filled with stuff, you can't find anything!   As a result, I"m busy sorting, purging, scanning.  
Today, I came across this gem:  apparently it is a note I wrote to my Grandma Irene  at some point during my youth.    It would have made a pretty amusing blog entry!

The text reads:
My grandma is a very nice lady.  She is 70 years old but she still acts like a spring chicken.  She's one of those ladies who keeps on working and just can't sit still for five minute.  She is a very good cook.  she make anybody gain 10 pounds at one meal!  when she says she don't have no food, well the trth is she doesn't have as much food as she wishes she had.  She says she's fat but I don't think so.  also, if she were fat like my mom, she wouldn't eat.  Me and my grandma get along pretty good.  I guess we get along pretty.
(wonder why I just stopped writing?  who knows...)
Yikes...I'm trying to recall what my mother's
reaction was when she saw this letter?  If she was even privy to it.  My cousin and I had a tradition of spending a week at Grandma's house each summer:  my guess is that is when I would have written it.  Probably around the mid 1970s?  Assuming she really was 70 when I wrote this:  Grandma had the habit of not disclosing her true age...something I can appreciate now that I myself am older.  She also never disclosed her middle name, simply said she didn't like it and thus wouldn't tell us what it was.

Grandma Irene passed away in December 2002, at the wonderful age of 96.  I often wonder what she would think of her family and how it has grown?  My guess is she'd be pretty proud of all of us!

My nephew visits with his great grandma.  I have always loved the smile on her face in this photo.
Even Thing One was able to sample one of Grandma's trademark cookies!

Grandma and her grands with their  kids mid 1990s.
Missing were 9 more great grands that were  either not born or not able to attend the party.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Arlington Reflections....

The schools here have a tradition of going to Washington DC in 8th grade.  We denied Thing One's request to go with his classmates as the price tag was such that I said (in my mommy wisdom) "We could ALL go for that price".   and of course, Thing One with his memory immediately started in with "remember, you said we could go!".  

So, off we went...
First Stop:  Arlington National Cemetery

As we toured the grounds, I was swept away with the beauty of this place..We wandered over to the Women in Service memorial.  It was here that I found myself reminded that I too am one of many who was committed to serving in our nation's military. 

 What surprised me and saddened me, was how we had this area all to ourselves.  Hundreds of girl scouts (they were in town for their 100th anniversary celebration, estimates were there were 200,000 girl scouts preparing to "Rock the Mall" over the weekend), swarming the place, and few if any  took those extra few steps to explore this portion of the property.  Here, these young girls could have learned so much about the  role that women have played in our nation's military. 

 I don't fault the girls themselves, but I question their leaders.  Did they know this place was here?  Did they choose not to include it?  Yes, this exhibit was a bit off the beaten path from the typical tourist attractions of Arlington, but it wasn't much of a long walk over to this area.  

It is my  hope it was a simple over sight on their part.  To think it was much more than this, is simply too disappointing to imagine.   

As for my guys, they know the role that women have played in the military.  They know that had it not been for the military, our family as we know and define it, would not be here.  

  And for that I am proud...

(trip report to be continued in the days that follow)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

In the blink of an eye

Celebrating Thing he finished 8th stop high school!