Monday, March 31, 2008

Get Ready Folks

The year is speeding by and April is now upon us. Get ready folks. Someone might play an April Fool's Joke on you tomorrow. So stay alert.

Books Read In March

Books Read in March
Book Ratings: one to five stars
Pitching My Tent, by Anita Diamont*
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert***
Canaan, by Donald McCaig*
The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Shafak*****
The Emperor's General, by Senator James Webb***

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Just Realized Today.......

I just realized today that we have been blogging here for over a year now. Our first post was March 18, 2007. We started the blog to keep our two daughters apprised of our road trip to the Pacific Northwest and our cruise to Alaska and the return road trip to Virginia. We discovered that it was a great way to communicate with our two daughters whether we were on a trip or not. And lo and behold, we have made new blog friends since we have started posting our blogs. So as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.

Watching My Saucer Magnolias Bloom

I have been enjoying watching my saucer magnolias by the swing develop buds that slowly grow then burst into unopened magenta blossoms that then grow and burst into full bloom. The unopened buds feel like pussy willows. I think that by Monday the whole tree will be a mass of magenta blossoms.

My Side Yard Weeping Cherry Tree

The weeping cherry tree in the side yard is now in full bloom. This tree has white blossoms that are now slowly cascading down on my little girl reading under the tree. I always wonder what she is reading. Could it be Anne of Green Gables or could it be Little Women?
If you click on the photos you will notice that each individual blossom has a pink cup where the blossom is attached to the tree, then a white blossom and finally a yellow center in the middle of the blossom. Oh, and the little girl reading is relaxing in a plot of Creeping Jenny.

Wooden White House Easter Eggs

These are our souvenir White House Easter Eggs from our visit to the egg roll in 1983. The two blue eggs are autographed by Melissa Belote and the gold egg by David Wingate. In 1983 I would have had trouble finding out who these people were. But in 2008 it is a different story. I did a web search and learned that Melissa Belote was a swimmer who won three gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. I was teaching in Frankfurt, Germany at the time and I remember the Munich massacre at those games very well. Some teachers at my school had planned to take leave to go down and watch some of their favorite athletes perform but were very frightened to do so after the shootings. From the web I learned that David Wingate was a basketball player for the Georgetown Hoyas in 1983 and that he went on to have a great career in the NBA. So these are our signed Easter eggs from the 1983
White House Easter Egg Roll. I wonder how much these autographed sports figure eggs are worth today?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Baby Photographer

Go to the above address and you will find lots of photos of our grandson, Jack Aidan, taken by his mommy, Jennifer. Sometimes Baby Jack likes the photographer and other times he is just plain put out. And if you roll back thru the old posts (Dec/Oct 2007) you will find some of Baby Jack's cute little friends who are in his baby play group. And if you find them, look for little Eva and little Greta, they are two of our grandson's "girlfriends". I don't think Baby Jack has decide yet which one he is planning to take to the prom this spring. He better decide soon, so that they can get their baby prom outfits ready.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Monday Part 3

Yesterday, Easter Monday, they had the Annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Jack and I took our two girls twice in the '80's to the White House for the event. Back then it was not quite the hassle that it is today. Back then you just got up early and headed to the district, found a place to park your car and stood in line around the rod iron fence of the White House and you made it in to the event. Today they limit the number of visitors to 22,000 plus. And in order to claim one of those tickets today it means camping out near the White House grounds for up to 24 hours. I don't think I would have gone if it was such a hassle in the '80's.
These photos are of our 1983 trip to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Jeanine was three and Jennifer was seven. Jack and I invited Georgia Hernandez and her two daughters, Andrea and Lisa, to go with us. In the top photo you see Georgia and myself (in grey jacket) waiting in line with the girls while Jack is taking our picture. The next photo is of the grounds set up with tents, balloons, food, water and lots of kiddie displays and kiddie characters. The last photo is of a photo opt display for the event. Jeanine and Lisa are in the front row and Andrea and Jennifer are in the back row. Each girl got an official White House Easter Egg Roll Souvenir Coloring Book .
For each attraction you had to stand in line. Of course, the most exciting attraction was rolling the wooden Easter Egg on the White House lawn. And you got to keep the wooden egg that you rolled. All the wooden eggs are painted and signed by local sports figures, media folks, etc. Tomorrow I will show you our souvenir wooden eggs. In 1986 we did it again. Mainly because Jeanine told us that she couldn't remember going when she was three. So we took her and her sister again when they were six and ten respectively.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Sunday Yoga Demo

Jeanine entertained her Dad by showing him some yoga poses on Sunday. I think she just wanted to get her jazzy flats from Nine West in the photo I was taking. Her yellow jazzy flats matched her belt and necklace.

Easter Monday in Washington D.C.

This is Easter Monday. I had a medical appointment in Alexandria, VA this morning so after the medical procedure was over we drove five miles down the road to have a nice lunch in Old Town Alexandria. Afterwards we drove north on the George Washington Memorial Parkway to Washington D.C. passing Ronald Reagan National Airport along the way. When we drove around the mall and the U.S. Capitol we found many spring blossoms and spring tourists in town enjoying the nice weather. It is always fun to play tourist in D.C. and it is a great place to people watch. You will find lots of tour buses and people from all over the U.S. and the world doing the D.C. tourist thing. Right now the famous Japanese cherry trees around the tidal basin are beginning to bloom. We took a look but couldn't find a place to park at noon in order to snap a photo. I promise you that we will be back when the weather is warmer (in about a week) and the cherry blossoms are about to peak. I did snap from our moving car these photos: the U.S. Capitol building; tulips in bloom by the African Museum of the Smithsonian; a tall pear tree in bloom by a federal building and a big old saucer magnolia tree in bloom with yellow forsythia as a backdrop across from the Vietnam War Memorial.
Remember that you can click on each photo for a more detailed view.

The Easter Basket Treats

Easter Lilies at St. Marys in Alexandria

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Eve of Easter Sunday

Are you having company for Easter? We are so I have been cooking and baking up a storm for Sunday's Easter dinner. Here's my menu:

Baby Asparagus with Artichoke Dip

Crack Your Own Easter Eggs

Jack Daniels Baked Ham

Slow Roasted Beef Brisket

Snowy Mashed Potatoes

Onion Pepper Brown Gravy

Green Bean Casserole

Southern Corn Pudding

Spring Lime Jello Salad
Hot Crossed Buns

Chateau St. Michele Riesling

Easter Egg Sugar Cookies

Bunny Rabbit Carrot Cake

Chocolate Eggs and Jelly Beans

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Very First Day of Spring!

This is the very first day of spring in northern Virginia. The weather is cool, breezy but very sunny. I found a purple hyacinth in bloom. The tulips are coming up under the weeping cherry tree in the front yard. All my rose bushes and climbing roses are getting small green leaves. And I spied the first open white blossom on one of my three Bradford pear trees. Best of all, the yellow jonquils under the Kousa dogwood tree are waving to me in the morning breeze. Hallaleuh, spring has arrived!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cutting Teeth Is A Pain!

Jack and I were planning to babysit our grandson today so that his mommy could go to the dentist. However, Baby Jack's dental needs put a kink in the stated plans. Jack Aidan is cutting teeth---this time the upper front two and he is not in a jolly mood today. Last night he wasn't either. He kept his parents awake most of the night with crying and fussing. So Mommy and Jack are heading back to bed this morning for some needed rest. We hope everyone feels better soon.

Just think, Jack Aidan, with two more teeth you will soon be able to really chomp down on your favorite foods: avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples and string cheese!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Big Dance Starts Thursday

What university basketball team are you glad is going to the "Big Dance".
Jack and I are proud that American in D.C.; Georgetown in D.C.; and George Mason in Northern Virginia got an invite. I am sorry that Virginia Tech didn't get an invite to the NCAA Tournament but am glad that they are selected to go to the NIT Tournament.

Leave a comment if you are excited about some university that has made the cut. Or leave a comment if you think some university was overlooked.

March 17, 2008

Have a Happy St. Patraticks Day tODAY


Thursday, March 13, 2008

35 Bags of Mulch on the Drive

Thirty-five bags of mulch on the drive.
Thirty-five bags of mulch on the drive.
Take one down and what do you get.
Thirty-four bags of mulch on the drive.

We conquered half the mulch for our flower beds yesterday. We hope to do the second half today. As you can imagine Jack and I both went to bed very tired with some sore muscles that had not had such a workout all winter. Did you know that your kneecaps can hurt from so much kneeling on the ground to weed and to pick up leaves from beneath the shrubs? We want to get this done because the rain is coming in for this weekend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

70 Bags of Mulch on the Drive

70 Bags of Mulch on the Drive.

70 Bags of Mulch on the Drive.

Take One Down and What Do You Have?

69 Bags of Mulch on the Drive.

When it gets daylight out I will take a photo for you of those 70 bags of mulch on the drive. In the meantime you can enjoy these photos of Baby Jack taken at Fair Oaks Mall where they had a small spring garden display.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

If This is 2008.......

If this is 2008, it is leap year and any lady can ask any gentleman to marry her. So ladies go ahead and ask that bashful or hesitant gentleman to marry you. Go. Just do it. For his sake and yours.

If This is Tuesday......

If this is Tuesday, it must be primary voting day somewhere. I know that they are voting down in Mississippi. Jack's sister, Marilyn, wrote to us to say that Obama would definately take the state. Marilyn lives in Cleveland, MS and is an English professor at Delta State. By the way, here is an interesting bit of trivia. Delta State has two mascots. The official mascot is The Statesmen or The Lady Statesmen. The unofficial mascot is The Fighting Okra. In the town of Cleveland, MS there is a restaurant called of all things The Fighting Okra. And as you can imagine you can get some very tasty fried okra there.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Come With Me

Are you still in a snowdrift where you live? Then do a virtual escape with me to Butchart Gardens outside Victoria, British Columbia. If someone granted me the privilege to live over one day of our 39 day cross country trip that Jack and I took last year, this is the place I would want to be. It would be a day spent walking, looking, photographing and just sitting to absorb the beauty of Butchart Gardens which I think is the most beautiful garden in North America, maybe even of all the world. I do like it better than the Japanese Gardens of Kyoto and the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens of Holland and The Tivoli Gardens of Italy. You can spend the better part of a day here and you can buy food and eat lunch under one of those cafe tables while admiring the blossoms, birds and bees nearby. Canadians should be very proud of this magnificent place. Click on photos for a better view of the flowers.