Wednesday, April 16, 2014

O is for Odyssey

All this month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge.  Today's letter is...
for Odyssey

The dictionary defines odyssey as a long wandering and eventful journey.  We're planning an odyssey this summer.  Our grandchildren are attending a family reunion in Iowa in early June.  The spouse and I will drive the RV to South Dakota and meet the girls and their parents at Mount Rushmore.  Their parents will hand the grandchildren off to us and fly home to Texas.  We will set off on an odyssey to make summer vacation memories.

We've just started planning.  We know we want to spend some time in Yellowstone National Park, but other than that, we're open to whatever looks interesting as we head back to Oregon.

The girls enjoy traveling in the RV.  They curl up with a book, or coloring book,  or Nana's i-pad.  The RV is large enough that they can spread out, not quite alone time, but they can get some distance from each other and that helps keep the peace.

Summer 2013 on our way to the Oregon Coast

Having children along on our travels changes our travel style.  When it's just the two of us we'll stop at antique stores and brew pubs.  With the grandchildren it's parks and McDonald's.

I'm looking forward to having the grandchildren for eight weeks this summer.  We've got a long list of things to do and I know we won't get to half of them.  We planted peas this week in the garden so Hunter can pick them.  She doesn't like to eat them, but she sure likes to harvest them.  We're filling the pond with sand so the girls can have a sand box, and I've started hitting the yard sales for digging toys.  I can wait for the odyssey to begin!

N : I've got Nothing!

All this month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge.  Today's letter is...

We're half way through the A to Z Challenge, but there are some tough letters coming up.  N should not be a particularly challenging letter, but I've got nothing.  I've been working this week writing a grant.  I think I've reached my writing word limit and the word well is dry.

So help me out.  Give me some suggestions for the remaining letters of the alphabet.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Mayonnaise

All this month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge.  Today's letter is...

For Mayonnaise     

I don't like mayonnaise.  In grade school when my classmates were pulling baloney sandwiches smothered in mayo from their lunch boxes, I had a peanut butter sandwich, not PBJ, just peanut butter. I like to think I have a discerning palate.  The spouse says I'm a picky eater.

No thank you, I don't want to try oysters, snails, or pickled anything.  The spouse says, "But you haven't tried it, how do you know you don't like it."  I hate it when he says that!  Once he talked me into trying pumpkin pie using that "you've never tried it" line.    I would never order it in a restaurant, but it wasn't awful.  He's never let me forget it.  Now I hear "Remember when you thought you didn't like pumpkin pie, and now you love it."  He 's managed to twist the story into his own version of history.

Some people are adventurous eaters; I'm not.  I don't think that people who eat a wide variety of disgusting things are any better than those of us who are more discerning.  But, I'll never convince the spouse of that!

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Last Minute

All this month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge.  Today's letter is...

I admire people who plan ahead, who assess what needs to be done, and then come up with a strategy for completing all activities on time and within budget...that's not me.  I procrastinate.  I dawdle.  I put it off.  But, I'm rarely late.  I think I like the danger, the rush to get things done in a short period of time.  Heck, I put off going to the bathroom until the last possible moment.  Why is that?  

Today I did our taxes.  I've put it off, not because I was looking for the rush, but because I was avoiding the unpleasantness.  I'm a reasonably smart person, so why is doing taxes a challenge?  It's because they don't make sense!  At the bank today I asked a question when I was making my last minute contribution to an IRA, they said "You should ask your accountant."   Does everyone have an accountant these days?  Why does everything have to be so complicated?  I'm feeling quite proud that our taxes were completed and submitted a full day before the due date.  I should pat myself on the back for writing this post...a full three hours before "L" day is over!

I think I'll have time to watch the lunar eclipse.  It's a "Blood Moon," and the pacific northwest is supposed to get a good view if the clouds don't get in the way.  It all happens around midnight, so if you're up, look up at the moon.  You don't need special protective devices for a lunar just need to be there.  Don't leave it to the last minute.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


All this month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge.  Today's letter is...
For Kayak

Late last summer the spouse and I took a kayaking class from the Hermiston Parks and Recreation Program.  I had wanted to try kayaking, but wasn't sure if I would be able to do it.  The class offered us a way to learn about kayaking, try out the equipment, and see if we really enjoyed it.  We did!  I was pleasantly surprised that I had the stamina to keep up with the the other, much younger, participants.  It's an outdoor activity, and you do it sitting down!  

The group shot before we leave  Warehouse Beach
Heading out to open water

At the end of the day ( I'm the 5th from the right)  Notice the beautiful golden light as the sun starts to set.

We tried kayaking again last month when we were in the Florida Keys.  We had so much fun that we decided to buy our own kayaks.    Cabela's has them on sale...I see a road trip to Yakima in my future.

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is For Lyndon Johnson

All this month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge.  Today's letter is...  

for President Lyndon Baines Johnson

Last month I went to Texas to spend spring break with my grandchildren.  We took a field trip to Dallas and visited the Perot Science Museum, the Fort Worth Zoo, and the 6th Floor Museum  at Dealey Plaza.  Most people my age remember clearly where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been shot.  I was at George K Porter Junior High in Home Economics class when the announcement came over the intercom.  For the next few days we were glued to the television coverage of the assignation, the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, his subsequent murder,  and then JFK's funeral.  

The 6th Floor Museum is in the former Texas School Book Depository.  The museum chronicles the the assignation and legacy of President Kennedy.  It was fascinating to me because I have such vivid memories of that time in history, but even my granddaughters, ages 6 and 8, were interested.  We looked out the window from where Oswald made the fatal shots and I marveled that one insignificant man changed the course of history.  We stood on "the grassy knoll" and everything seemed so much smaller than what was pictured in the news coverage in 1963.

My daughter and grandchildren on the grassy knoll.  Zapgruder was standing just to the right of my daughter when he filmed the assignation

Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president following Kennedy's assignation.  He is probably best remembered for his failure to end the war in Vietnam, but his greatest legacy may well be his legislative agenda.  He committed to seeing that the Civil Rights Act proposed by his predecessor was passed.  In an address to a joint session of congress in 1963 Johnson told the legislators,  

"No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long."  

Today President Obama spoke at the Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas at a summit commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Obama credits the Civil Rights Act with "throwing open the doors of opportunity" for Americans who had previously been shut out.  The Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Johnson on July 2, 1964, changed our nation.  We've come a long way in fifty years, but there's still a little more work to be done.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Italy

All this month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge.  Today's letter is...
I for Italy

In April of last year my daughter was working in Italy for several weeks.  I joined her in Milan to take advantage of her company-paid hotel room.  I was in Italy for less than an hour when all my money and credit cards were stolen by a pickpocket.  If I had been on my own, I would have been in real trouble.  Fortunately my daughter saved the day by loaning me money and a credit card.  It was my first visit to Italy and I wasn't about to have losing all my money get in the way of having a good time!

During the week while my daughter was working,  I explored Milan.  I saw DaVinci's Last Supper, toured La Scala, touched the Rondanini Pieta that Michaelangelo was working on at the time of his death, and rummaged through the street markets.  

An amazing selection of random stuff at a street market in Milan

Beautiful fresh vegetables at the street market

On the weekends we left the city.  We took the train to Lake Como and rode the ferry to the small villages along the lake.  We didn't see George Clooney.

But, my favorite part of the trip was Venice.  It's filled with tourists and lots of tacky tourist crap, but it is an amazing place.  It looks exactly like every picture that you have ever seen of Venice, yet, when you are there,  it is hard to believe that such a place exists.  
A random canal in Venice

It rained while we were in Venice, but that didn't put a damper on our activities.
A gondola floated by and all the passengers had umbrellas.
We took a water taxi out to the island of Murano to see the glass factories.

Sarah and a glass sculpture on Murano
I'd like to take the spouse to Italy and on that visit I will try and avoid the pickpockets!

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