Category Archives: life LOVE and the pursuit of happiness

Say Wha…???

It’s time to pack my bags and close up shop.

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m going to shut things down here. There’s an entire household that needs packing and moving. My husband is retiring and we’re headed back across the country to our home state of Washington.

Say WA

That was the tourism slogan back in 2006. No, they didn’t ask me.   I prefer to say The Evergreen State.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me why we are moving. Cost of living is one reason. Every time friends here in Northern Virginia ask us to stay, I ask if they are offering to pay half our mortgage. That pretty much ends the conversation!
Another reason for going is family. Nearly all of our extended family lives in Washington, and my mother’s illness and death solidified the desire to be closer.  My two oldest boys have chosen to attend college there and seeing your kids once in 9 months is too long to be apart at this stage of the game — at least according to this mama!  Of course, the weather is a factor. I can’t get away from this hot, humid summer fast enough! And finally, throughout my husband’s career, Washington State has remained home to us. We grew up there, we attended college there, we met and married there. Two of our children were born there. We have kept our residency status with our driver licenses and our absentee voting ballots. We even managed to be posted there twice during the past 21 years.

But if you need more reasons, I’ll try to help you with a few images:


This lovely photograph of the famous 14,410 foot peak was taken by a family friend.

And it’s not just  Mt. Rainier that is so wonderful. Washington is full of mountains, with two mountain ranges (Cascade and Olympic). Here are the Olympic Mountains over Puget Sound at dusk.
[click to embiggen]

Puget Sound is nice, but there’s more than just salt water. Washington has over 8,000 lakes and ponds. The Columbia River powers the region with several hydroelectric dams, the most famous one being the Grand Coulee Dam. If you don’t already know about it, go ahead and click the link and be amazed!

But maybe you don’t like water or glacier-covered peaks. Would you like a volcano? Mt. St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980 (she was a pain in the ash, as they say) and has been politely burping and letting off steam ever since.
And of course there is plenty of hiking and camping to be enjoyed.

I will return to blogging, although perhaps not in this particular spot in the internet. I’ve got some changes in mind but they aren’t quite ready for publication. Please keep me in your reader/feed or somehow on your radar. I’ll post the new link when I get my act together again.
I will be back in some form or other, hopefully by September, and I’ll be blogging from this place:

♥KC

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Life Goes On

In the midst of the sadness of my mother’s passing, we had a houseful (nine of us) here for graduation and end-of-school celebrations and events.


Rapunzel, MusicMan, SnakeMaster, and Encyclopedia Blue
after SM’s uber-long ceremony


Humorous-Juniorous, Encyclopedia Blue, MusicMan and Rapunzel
The Graduate and his musicians after the ceremony

Why yes, we are proud parents!

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Muchas gracias to my MIL for taking these last 2 pictures on her camera.

I’m still not back to regular blogging. In part because my heart isn’t quite in it right now, and in part because there is much happening on the home front.  I will stop by and visit when I can manage the time and inclination to do so.

Weekend re-cap

The 5th grade float

On Friday, I went over to SnakeMaster’s school and helped the kids create their 5th grade float… well, I helped to tape things down, the kids were the creators using a Candyland theme.  [click on any picture to embiggen]

On Saturday morning, quite a few 5th graders climbed aboard and began eating candy  prepared to ride up the main street (aka, the business route of the highway) of our small town.

Candyland Taffy

Candyland Castle

It was all very sweet. The weather was warm, but not sticky. Good thing, too, with all those giant “chocolate” kisses!

I even managed to improve darken my farmer’s tan by adding a burn over the previous tan.

Mascot and driver (who wasn't even a classroom dad!) -- Hurrah for community volunteers!

purple house

The kids threw candy to spectators regardless of age.

After the parade, the kids all worked together to dismantle their project and families dispersed. I walked with SnakeMaster & one of his friends over to the town park where there were plenty of activities and even some free ice cream

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The grandparents arrived Saturday evening along with MusicMan and his girlfriend, Rapunzel (The Girl With The Magic Hair). It had been a year since we’d seen the grandparents, 5 months since we’d seen MM, and the first time to meet Rapunzel.

I am so relieved to not have the house on show during this time!

Sunday morning, Encyclopedia Blue preached a mini-sermon at the second church service for Graduate Recognition Sunday.  Baccalaureate is next Sunday and the following weekend is graduation.

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There are now 9 of us in the household for the next 2 weeks.  We are completely out of bread and almost out of milk & eggs.  Obviously I will be going grocery shopping this morning! The grandparents will be here for just 2 weeks (they never take me seriously when I invite them to move in!) but Rapunzel is staying with us until the end of July, when she will help us drive back across the country to our new (as yet unchosen and unpurchased) home.

With 9 of us here, and only one computer connected to the internet — and of course GRADUATION and the end of the school year — *and* packing boxes and sneaking a few of them on-board the grandparents’ motorhome — well, with all of the above, I will be lucky to read blogs, let alone write a post!

I’ll be back when I can.  (Tomorrow is a scheduled post, but come by anyway to say hello!)

~KC

Friday 5: birthdays, chocolate chip cookies, and Rod Stewart

me with my dad in May 2008

1. Today is my dad’s 75th birthday. True to form, his card is late (what happened? I used to be so good about mailing cards on time!) but I will call and wish him a happy birthday.

2. Today is also my nephew’s birthday. How can it be that the little 2yo boy who stuck his fingers in our wedding cake is now a husband and father?

3. I finally took the cat in for her annual appointment (only running 4 months late on that one). The veterinarian and the technician and I all agreed that she is part-Abyssinian, which explains her gorgeous caramel coloring. I doubt it explains her perfect behavior throughout the exam, but I was glad for that, too.

4. This morning my friend ~P~ is coming over to learn how to make chocolate chip cookies (not exactly a national treat in China).  Last Saturday, I was at her house learning how to make a few easy, healthy dishes. I think I have the better end of the deal!

5. I’m in love with the Rod Stewart Great American Songbook CD collection. Unfortunately, there is no money in the budget for buying CDs just because I like them.   😦   But at least the next time someone asks me what I’d like for a gift, I can actually name something!

Good with Chicks

Thankful Thursday: A different kind of A-to-Z

SnakeMaster presented me with a ribbon-tied scroll on Mother’s Day. I unrolled it and read, to my surprise, a very different kind of A-to-Z list than I posted yesterday. Here is my youngest son’s own A-to-Z:

Adaptable, come camping with me

Bland, don’t expect anything fancy of me

Careful, come rock-climbing with me

Dynamic, come swim with me

Economical, save money with me

Focused, pay attention with me

Generous, give away things with me

Healthy, don’t get sick with me

Inventive, make new things with me

Just, don’t break the law with me

Kind, don’t be mean with me

Loyal, don’t lie with me

Meek, be polite with me

Naturalist, don’t harm nature with me

Optimistic, think happily about the future with me

Peaceful, don’t fight with me

Quiet, don’t yell with me

Resourceful, don’t waste with me

Sensible, don’t go crazy with me

Thorough, don’t miss things with me

Unique, don’t laugh at me

Valuable, don’t harm me

Watchful, be alert with me

Xtra special, respect me

Young, have patience with me

Zest, be enthusiastic with me

Thankful Thursday: photo o[o]ps

As I watched a bit of the royal wedding last Friday (thank you, PBS and BBC America for helping me avoid the talking heads spewing blather) I was struck by the photographic opportunities I missed 15 years ago when we spent 3 days in London.  At least, I’m pretty sure I missed them — the photo albums are already packed in boxes for our move this summer.  I had scanned the Mannheim Wasserturm photo in yesterday’s post prior to packing the albums, but I can’t recall taking a lot of architectural photographs during that era. And that’s a pity, because were so many lovely old buildings I saw while living and traveling in Europe.

My camera and I were a bit preoccupied. Instead of buildings, I was busy photographing sights like this:

I’m sorry to not have amazing architectual photographs (or at least mediocre photographs of amazing architecture) in my scrapbooks, but I’m incredibly thankful to have captured moments like the one above.

Surprise!

It wasn’t that long ago that we were watching this together:

Happy 20th birthday, MusicMan!

I’m proud of you, and I’m glad you are bringing The Girl with the Magic Hair to spend the summer with us.

love,
Mom

Sharing 42 out of 276 (pictures, that is)

My BFF came for a visit over the weekend.

Red Fox Inn

Peanut Soup at the Red Fox InnWe had a lovely lunch at the Red Fox Inn: peanut soup and crab cake sandwiches. Yum!

This historic inn located in the town of Middleburg has been in business since 1728.

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We spent the better part of one day exploring Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryAcross the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry is the C&O Canal and Towpath. The Railroad and the C&O Canal were in competition with one another. In the end, the trains were faster and cheaper. The C&O Canal Towpath is now a lovely trail for hiking and biking.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry is nearly the half-way point on the Appalachian Trail.  It is also the site of John Brown’s fort.

This town changed hands 8 times during the Civil War.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryIt’s a long way up these steps to the place where Thomas Jefferson wrote eloquently about the view… but it’s worth it.  Along the way you will pass a church that escaped shelling during the Civil War by flying the British “Union Jack” flag, proclaiming that it took no sides — neither North nor South. You will also pass a church that did not have the same luck.

[click to embiggen]

Harpers Ferry

Jefferson Rock at Harpers FerryAbove is the spectacular view (from Jefferson Rock) that so moved Thomas Jefferson:  the meeting of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers amongst mountains and rocky valley.

Here is where we could travel southward on the Appalachian Trail, if only we had time…

The Appalachian Trail at Harpers Ferry

But it is time to leave Harpers Ferry.

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We had a busy weekend…

Not only did we visit Middleburg and Harpers Ferry, we managed to visit two wineries and attended a Guinness St. Patrick’s Day party.
Thank you, SuperDad, for being our designated driver! 😀

Jake & the Burtones
KCINNOTX actually liked Jake & the Burtones (above) better than The Acoustic Burgoo (below), but being up near the front and actually being able to hear them clearly might have influenced her impressions. The Acoustic Burgoo

On Sunday, we traveled into The City for a museum and a foot-killing, pain-filled tour of the monuments.

World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial (Atlantic)
World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

[click to embiggen]

Vietnam War Memorial,
a.k.a., “The Wall”

[As with all pictures, click to embiggen]

statue of soldiers near Vietnam Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial
Gratuitous heads of school children being photographed by their leader, left in photograph for perspective.

(Below) View from the Lincoln Memorial toward Washington Memorial. The Reflecting Pool has been drained for maintenance since October 2010.

Korean War Memorial
I very much would like to see this Korean War Memorial at night,  on a dark, rainy day or a foggy, misty morning. The statues portray soldiers sweeping through field and brush in miserable weather. Our beautiful, sunny Spring day did not do this memorial justice.

Not that I’m complaining about the weather!

early cherry blossoms

In another week or two, the Tidal Basin will be filled with the reflection of Cherry Blossoms. For now, there is the promise of blooms in bud and a haze of pink on the distant trees.

Speaking of promise… here are a few photos from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. His message is appropriate for today’s world:
words of FDR

soup kitchen line, FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial
FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

It was a wonderful weekend.

I treasure our friendship and I especially appreciated the good times together (and the good weather!) while taking my mind off other things.

Tomorrow I’ll be “flying the friendly skies.”
I’ll be silent from blogging for a few weeks while I am visiting my mother. She had cancer surgery last week and I am going to be her post-surgery caregiver.

Friday 5: A penny for your thoughts

It’s high time for a Friday Five, so those pennies will add up to a nickel today.

1. My BFF flew in for a visit last night. I’m excited to be able to share a few of my favorite things with her this weekend!

2. I very much want her to make future visits, so I personally cleaned the hall bathroom (a.k.a., the boys’ bathroom) instead of just sending the boys to do it.

3. Boys don’t notice dirt and mess, nor do they seem to appreciate clean.  What’s up with that? (I’m talking about grime, not just clutter.)

4. Decluttering is such a hard thing for me to do. Once I let the clutter in, it mixes with important things and I have trouble sorting it all out, especially when it comes to papers and paperwork.  But even beyond things easily recycled, I have to keep reminding myself:  Just because it is useful or pretty doesn’t mean I should keep it.

5. My mom had cancer surgery on Tuesday. I’ll be flying out there next week to be her caregiver until the end of the month.