Saturday, May 31, 2008

Baby Jack's Resume

Jack Aidan take that toy out of your mouth and tell us what you have learned this past week. Say I have finally learned how to crawl and I have discovered that I have a tongue.
Mommy Karras was so helpful to you that you had absolutely no need to crawl to anything because she was your delivery person who brought everything to you. And since you hated tummy time she never put you on your tummy. Grandma on the other hand thought a little tummy time was needed even if you were not crazy about the idea so you finally learned how to get up on your hands and knees to rock and push yourself backwards. Well reverse motion is better than no motion. You even learned to go in a circle in that fashion. Then your Daddy got involved in the crawling process and decided to tempt you to get up on your hands and knees and move forwards. He used that old Pavlov's dog trick and enticed you with food. He put your very favorite brand of baby cookie in front of your face and let you see it, smell it and hunger for it. Well, lo and behold, you got up on your hands and knees and headed straight to the cookie using forward motion all the way. And it is amazing what you can accomplish in one week. Yesterday you came to Grandma's house and crawled all over her family room carpet. What a thrill for Grandma. Now we all need to baby proof our homes. There is a baby on the loose!
And this past Tuesday when Grandma was at your house she thought you were gagging on something because you sat real still with your little tongue going in and out of your mouth. When I asked if you were OK or choking on something, your mommy replied that you were just discovering another body part. And sure enough we had fun watching you stick out your tongue and lower your eyes to see it. Pretty soon everyone was making like a monkey and sticking out their tongues too. What a hoot! You would watch us do it and then you would do it. Next thing we had you going la la la la with your tongue wagging in the air. Your resume can now say crawls and wags tongue and makes people smile.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Mary Ellen

These white roses that symbolize purity and loyalty are for my older sister, Mary Ellen Thobe who will be celebrating her 70'th birthday this weekend with her husband, her three daughters and their spouses and five grandchildren. Congratulations Mary! Make sure you make a wish before you blow out those 70 candles.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bullies in the Bird World

See the milkcan painted black. Years ago it resided in my father's milkhouse in Ohio and was used to hold milk from the three electric milkers that we used to milk the cows. My husbands's relatives in Missouri were more progressive dairy farmers and had done away with the milk cans and moved on to milk transported through milk lines to a large chilled holding tank in their milkhouse. But every day the milk trucks would roll in Ohio and Missouri to pick up the milk for processing at the milk plant. Today this milkcan holds our birdseed. And my dear husband can go out twice a day to refill the birdfeeders on that shepherd's hook. And who is eating us slowly out of house and home? The darn grackles. I don't mind so much that they eat but that they scare away all the other birds. In my humble opinion they are the bullies in the bird world.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Full Nest

A little Carolina Chickadee is sitting on five off white speckled eggs in a bluebird box that is attached to a rod iron rose arbor on the side of my house. It looks like the nest is made of grass, moss and cotton balls. Cotton balls! Where could they have come from----someone's trash? I can keep an eye on her comings and goings from my library window. Has anyone noticed that the birds are not waking us up at 2:00 A.M. these days with their courtship songs? Like we humans most of the birds have settled down to concentrate on parenthood with all its demands.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose
A Baby Is A Baby Is A Baby
May 24, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Photo Time at the National Garden

We went a little crazy taking photos at the National Garden in D.C. yesterday. The earth globes were part of a Green Earth promotion. Click on the photos for more detail.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ride to the Wall

This morning Jack, Jeanine and I drove to the Vienna Metro stop and took the subway to get to downtown D.C. to watch The Rolling Thunder Ride to the Wall. We decided to get off the metro close to the U.S. Capitol Building and the Native American Museum. This turned out to be an excellent idea because we had enough time to take in the new National Garden which is three acres of flowers and ponds near the existing U.S. Botanical Garden and to have a light picnic on the lawn near Third Street S.W. (I'll post photos of the gardens tomorrow.)
The Rolling Thunder Riders gathered at the Pentagon parking lot and then rode together in procession across Arlington Memorial Bridge and into D.C. The riders motored east on Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Capitol, then turned onto Third Street to head back west on Independence Avenue to parking near the Lincoln Memorial. There was going to be a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial at 1:30 P.M. The first string of riders left the Pentagon parking lot at noon and reached our location on Third Street near the capitol at 12:15 P.M. The line of riders went on and on and on and on to infinity it seemed. We could hear them before we could see any of them. The sound of all the motorcyclists revving up their engines really does sound like rolling thunder before a spring storm. We stood and watched till l:00 P.M. and the procession of riders passing us still had not ended when we left. Of course, we brought our cameras and took lots of photos. Some I will post here.
There were motorcycles of every color, make and design. Many riders had flags attached to the back such as the American flag, the black POW-MIA flag, military flags and personal flags with photos. We saw a large contingent of Canadian cyclists flying their red maple leaf flag.We saw some old Indian motorcycles with fringes and we saw some three wheel motorcycles that looked like large tricycles. One fellow had attached the fins of a '57 Chevy Bel Air to his motorcycle! Over 60 percent of the riders looked liked senior citizens with their grey hair and beards. There were a few young drivers and a few women cyclists One cyclist pulled a bamboo style cage on an attached flatbed. The cage was about the size of a dog cage for a Labrador dog. And in the cage was a very old man kneeling with his hands behind his back some of the time. Can you imagine a senior citizen kneeling like this for close to two hours? Later in the procession there was an empty cage with a sign attached that read:
Click on photos to read the signs and to see the older veteran with the long grey beard in the cage.
Just listed to our local NBC Evening News and they reported that some 750,00 veterans participated today in this event. They also reported that President Bush greeted the heads of Rolling Thunder at the White House this morning. Apparently the Rolling Thunder leaders presented President Bush with a Rolling Thunder vest. I think maybe Bush flew over the crowd in the presidential helicopter because there were two copters flying very low over the capitol grounds.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Rolling Thunder Riders Are Here

Jack and I were on interstate #66 and local roads #29, #50, etc yesterday going from and to Haymarket and we must have seen over 200 motorcycles that you could tell were apart of the 2008 Ride to the Wall for all American Veterans. Most motorcycles had two riders and some were pulling behind them motorcycle carriers with their belongings. And almost all had American flags attached to their motorcycles. Many of the men and women were wearing Rolling Thunder jackets and hats or else stars and stripes bandannas. Some of these folks have been on the road since May 14 since they are coming all the way from points in the far west like California, New Mexico, Colorado. I guess those that travel far meet up each night in a planned rest stop city. I imagine the double riders allow for the drivers to take breaks. This year around half a million people are expected for this four day event. Last night they apparently had a candlelight ride to the wall. Sunday will be the big day when all the Rolling Thunder riders will gather in the Pentagon parking lot in Arlington and ride together to The Wall. If you are like me and you would like to learn more about Rolling Thunder, click on these websites below.

The is the site of the Fairfax Chapter of Rolling Thunder. It has a long but very good video of the Rolling Thunder 2005 Ride to The Wall.

video on the left side of the page that you can watch under History.

The is the site of the National Rolling Thunder Organization. And it also
has a video that you can watch. Video not as long. Good shots of D.C. and the riders going across the bridges with capitol in background.

Remember our veterans both alive and dead this Memorial (Decoration)
Day. And our deceased family members and friends.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Empty Nest

This morning the bluebird parents were still feeding the six baby bluebirds in the white bluebird house on the right of the swing arbor. This afternoon I noticed no bluebirds bringing food (worms) to the bluebird house so I opened up the house and discovered that the babies had flown away. One year I was lucky enough to get to watch the first flights. What a scarry endeavor that was. It was like watching a World War I fighter pilot going down after being hit. I found myself screaming at them: "Pull up, pull up, you are going to crash!" Meanwhile the bluebird parents were screetching their little bird heads off at their fledging babies: "Chirp, chirp, chirp! You can do it. Go up, go up, go up! Chirp, chirp, chirp!" I now will have to remove the nest and wash out the house with dishsoap and water and let it air dry in the sun. Then it will be ready for a new family of bluebirds. And as they say on that TV show if only walls could talk, we would have quite a bluebird story.

Epilogue to the Story

Last weekend Dr. Marilyn Schultz flew from Cleveland, Mississippi where she is an Assistant Professor of English at Delta State to Missouri to meet up with her two daughters, Monica and Rusty. Together with Monica's boyfriend they drove to Kansas State University where Dr. Marilyn Schultz had the wonderful honor of hooding her daugther. In the first photo you see Dr. Schultz and Dr. Schultz with a KS faculty member. In the last picture you see Monica with her sister Rusty before the ceremony.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Newly Minted Doctor of Psychology

Earlier today I had you guess who the new Doctor of Psychology is of the four little girls in the picture posted yesterday. Well, before I give you the correct answer let me tell you the story. Jack's half sister, Marilyn, and her husband Lewis Schultz lived in Jefferson City, MO which is the capital city of MO. Marilyn who majored in English in college and taught high school English for awhile became a part time professor at Lincoln University in Jeff City. Lewis Schultz, Marilyn's husband, was a district claims manager for American Family Insurance. Life was good. Then the year after the two girls flew to see us Marilyn was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease which has plagued her ever since. But Marilyn was a survivor and she kept working at Lincoln University and raising her two girls. Then just a couple of years later Marilyn's husband Lewis died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack on a cold winter day in January and Marilyn was left to raise these two preteen girls. Marilyn did a fantastic job raising the girls all by herself. Monica and Rusty were both honor roll students in junior high and high school and went off to college where they continued to excel. Meanwhile Marilyn went back to school and earned her Doctorate in English from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Monica graduated from college and went straight to Kansas State to major in organizational psychology for her Masters. Meanwhile Rusty who had a double major in math and economics graduated from college and did Teach for America for two years in the inner city of Houston, TX. After that Rusty went to Boston College and got a Masters in math. Rusty in time returned to Houston where she now has a very fine business job using her math and economics skills and is about to purchase by herself a $350,000 townhouse in downtown Houston. I can't explain what Rusty does because it is way beyond my mathematical brain skills. However, I can now announce that the little girl in the previous blog post that got her Doctors is Monica! And guess what? Monica's mom, Marilyn, was invited to be the person to present Monica with her Doctor's hood. Tomorrow for my story's epilogue I will share photos of Monica getting her Doctors' hood from her mother, Dr. Marilyn Schultz. Left to right in top photo: Jennifer, Rusty, Jeanine, Me and Monica. Left to right in second photo: Jennifer, Rusty, Monica and Jeanine.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Prologue to the Story

It was a dark and stormy night. No, wrong beginning sentence. It was a light and sunny day. I was at Harbor Place in Baltimore in July of 1986 with four little girls in tow. Monica and Rusty Schultz had flown all by themselves from St. Louis, MO to spend a week with their first cousins, Jennifer and Jeanine Shipley in Virginia. At the time Jennifer was 10, Monica was 8, Rusty was 7 and Jeanine was 6. Jack and I thought that the two older cousins would hang out together and the two younger cousins would hang out together. Well, what did we know about the Meyer-Briggs Personality Test back then. Not enough to know that you don't put an introvert with an extrovert. So bedroom roommates quickly changed. Jennifer and Rusty, the two introverts, did their thing together while Monica and Rusty, the two extroverts, did their thing together. Midway through the visit we packed up the car with little girls and headed to Baltimore, MD to the Inner Harbor to see the National Aquarium and the shops and tourist sights surrounding it. While there we succumbed to buying the girls teddy bears and matching big and baggy tshirts. The girls proceeded to put on the big and baggy tshirts over their shorts and tops. Then we had to stop and pose for a photo for Mom and Dad Schultz back in Jefferson City, MO. That is the prologue to this story. Now let's skip to the end of the story. Today Jennifer, Monica, Rusty and Jeanine are all grown and have flown away to lives of their own. But all four have something in common. All four went to good colleges and earned both a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree. But one of these four little girls went even further academically. She got her Doctor's degree in psychology this past weekend. Make a guess as to which one it was. I'll tell you in my next blog posting when I tell you the story.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sitting Bull

When we talked to Teena Franklin at Linda Franklin's retirement party we learned that she grew up in Ellensburg, Washington which is known for its Clymer Museum of Art and for its Sitting Bull. So after we learned that Kirk Franklin had never heard of or seen the Sitting Bull we just had to post this photo of the Sitting Bull. Hope Kirk gets to see it. Isn't this a cute little sitting bull statue? We just had to take a photo of him when we were driving across Washington state last May on interstate #90 and stopped for a big breakfast in downtown Ellensburg. Click on the photo of the bull to see what he has in his lap.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We Meet Again - 36 Years Later

Saturday Jack and I drove to the little village of Clifton, VA and I was able to meet again, 36 years later, someone that taught first grade with me at Frankfurt American Elementary School #1 in Frankfurt, Germany. Linda Franklin (now Linda Franklin Carroll) was one of the twelve first grade teachers at Frankfurt #1 that I taught with in the early '70s. At the time Linda was married and had two sons. While at my school I remember that she had her daughter, Kellee, unexpectedly on a vacation trip to London. And I remember going with the other first grade teachers to her home to meet baby Kellee. But most of all I remember having her precocious six year old son, Kirk, in my first grade class the school year of 1971-72. How precocious was Kirk? Well, he showed up in my first grade class already having read Lew Wallaces's novel, Ben Hur. What a thrill it was to meet again yesterday after 36 years! Retirement parties are bitter sweet occasions. I found myself both laughing and crying and rejoicing at the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend and work colleague from long ago. And it was a thrill to meet the now grown man Kirk Franklin and his lovely wife Teena. I learned that Kirk now lives in San Francisco and is working in the web design field. No wonder the retirement party invitation included a website Kirk designed for his mother's retirement. Take a look if you like. I guarantee that even if you don't know Linda, you will be shedding tears at this wonderful Thanks For the Memories tribute that Kirk created for his mother. Here's the address: Linda is retiring from Laurel Ridge Elementary School in Fairfax County where she has been a kindergarten teacher for the past 34 years. Wow! Current and former principals, teachers and kindergarten students came to the retirement picnic to give Linda a big retirement send off. Happy Retirement, Linda!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The First One

Last night at dusk I spotted my first hummingbird of the 2008 season at my hummingbird feeder. In the past I didn't put my feeder up till the end of June because I didn't think that they showed up in Virginia till it got really hot here. But this past week I stumbled upon a blog about hummingbird migration and discovered from it that Canadians to the north of us have had sightings of hummingbirds in April. Wow! So this week we made a batch of hummingbird food (sugar and water boiled, then cooled) and put up the feeder. It took about three days for the hummingbird to spot the feeder or should I say for me to spot the hummingbird. Yesterday I had another first one too. I noticed looking out the window at the rain that my first peony blossom has opened. When it gets light out this morning I plan to run out and snap a picture and post it here. THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: IT IS HARD TO BEAT A DAY IN MAY SO I WISH THE MONTH HAD 62 DAYS INSTEAD OF 31.
Here's the web blog on hummingbird migration:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Old Fashion Farm Iris

Old fashioned farm iris. I got this start from my sister Mary Thobe who got it from my dad's farmhouse garden in Russia, Ohio. Ok, the garden tour is over. Now let's go sit in my garden swing and have a tall glass of ice tea.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We Are Soaked!

We are soaked but not with money but with rain. Sunday Dulles Airport got seven inches of rain and that's on top of four more inches of rain last week. We exited the Bender Arena at AU with driving rain pelting us and we were soaked by the time we reached our car in the parking lot. And yes, we had a difficult time driving home from the graduation Sunday night. Water lying deep in the roads and rain coming down hard. It took us almost two hours to go 45 miles. When we turned to go into our community we noticed that Carolina Road to Haymarket was blocked with flares because of high water across the road. We learned that state route #15 was totally shut down between north Haymarket and Leesburg, VA. Last night the local TV media reported on road closings, power outages, sinkholes, toppled trees, etc. And one home in McLean, VA was condemned because the foundation shifted because of the rain. Today we are due for even more rain. I swear our world's weather is getting violent and extreme. I have lived in Virginia for over 28 years and I can never remember so much rain in so short a period of time. Last night the media said that we broke a record here---the most rain in May in 60 years! And this is only May 13'th. Hmmmm---is it time to build a new ark?

Monday, May 12, 2008

What We Liked Best About the Commencement

What Jack and I liked best about the commencement at AU (outside of seeing Jeanine walk across the stage to get her diploma and shake hands) was seeing and listening to the American University MacMillian Scottish Bagpipe Band lead the processional and recessional of graduates and faculty. It was like a bit of old Scotland in D.C. In this photo you see the seven bagpipers up on the commencement platform and the six drummers below the platform. Jeanine's cohort in the School of Cummunications was #16 so that is why in some of the photos of the previous post you see the number 16 on the graduation caps. One girl also added to her cap Baby On Board since she was pregnant and another added Marines since she is a Marine officer.

Go to the following link to hear the Scottish bagpipers:

American University Commencement 2008

American University was chartered by an Act of Congress in 1893 and was founded under the auspices of the United Methodist Church. Today it is an independent coeducational university with more than 12,000 students. The campus is in northwest Washington D.C. at 4400 Massachusetts Avenue.

Click on the photos to see more clearly. (We were in the nosebleed section of the basketball arena.) You can see the MacMillan Scottish Pipe Band in one photo and our daughter Jeanine shaking AU President Kerwin's hand up on the commencement platform in another. Plus glimpse what people in Jeanine's cohort attached to the top of their graduation caps.

We Are Tired-We Will Post Later

We are very tired. Yesterday's graduation at American University and the torrential rains have Jack and I sleeping in today. We will write more about graduation later today. In the meantime you can look at Baby Jack in Jeanine's graduation cap.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Graduation Preparations

On Saturday we had a pre graduation barbecue dinner in honor of Mothers Day and in honor of our daughter's upcoming graduation from American University.This Sunday afternoon Jeanine will receive her masters degree from American University in Washington D.C. Jeanine was the guest of honor but Baby Jack kept stealing the spotlight. Especially when he practiced walking by holding our hands and when he checked out Aunt Jeanine's fresh pedicure. Jeanine tried on her graduation cap and gown and of course we had to get a photo or two or three of that special moment. We were delighted that Jeanine's roomie in Alexandria, Maria, could join us for this party. She is one of Baby Jack's honorary aunts. We just wish that Jeanine's boyfriend, Bryan, who is serving in Iraq with the VA National Guard could have joined us for this special occasion in Jeanine's life.