Monday, October 29, 2007


A couple of months ago Neal awoke feeling dizzy and seeing the world spinning around him. It lasted a couple of days or so then went away. Well, yesterday, Neal awoke with the same dizzy feeling with the world spinning around him. He was able to make it to all his meetings and conduct Sacrament meeting without falling over or looking too drunk! This morning when he awoke, he was experiencing the same dizzy, spinning sensations, so off to the doctor he went. Neal found out that he has something called "Positional Vertigo." It is something that comes and goes and is caused by small crystals of calcium developing and floating in the inner ear. It causes Neal to be dizzy and even feel nauseated. He was given some exercises to do to help things clear up faster. There is also medication he can take, but it completely zonks you! So right now he is opting for the exercises. So for today anyway I get some quiet time at home with my hubby!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saying Goodbye

Sometimes in the natural course of events we find ourselves saying goodbye far before we are ready. Such was the case this week when my parents had to say goodbye to a beloved apple tree. This was not an ordinary apple tree. It was a golden delicious that was planted when their first grandchild, a golden boy, was born.
For 38 years Dad nurtured, pruned, sprayed, loved and cared for this tree while Mom made countless (literally) quarts of applesauce and apple pie filling. We kids even got in on the fun by buying lawn ornaments and bird feeders that found their way in, under, and around this beloved tree.
There have been countless numbers of people who have been fed from the fruit of this tree as Mom baked endless pies to give away. I was blessed to be among those who were fed from the fruit of this tree. For years all I wanted for Christmas from my parents was "Mom's Apple Pie Filling". But my blessing went beyond getting Mom's apple pie filling each Christmas, a couple of years ago I had the privilege of being taught at the side of my Mother how to make her apple pie filling.
So, on Friday, October 25, our family all said a sad goodbye to a very beloved tree. And even though this tree will leave a hole in our hearts, as most things we love and lose do, it will still warm our memories. And for me as I make my Mom's apple pie filling each year, even though I won't be using apples from their beloved tree, I will still be carrying on a tradition that started 38 years ago when a golden delicious tree was planted for a golden grandson.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Journey's end

Yesterday was the longest day of the trip by far. We were up 21 hours. But we are home and it feels so good. The first thing I noticed was the silence of the northwest. Music to my ears! And to walk through the door into our house and be greeted by that fur ball of ours was just heavenly!

We really did have the time of our lives this past few weeks. On the drive home from the airport we were talking of our favorite parts of our trip. We had a long list of favorites and even though we are glad to be home to the quiet here, we did enjoy experiencing the noise and hub of the city life, from the trains to the crowds and everything in between!

We also feel we were very blessed on this trip. We were so blessed with safety, the perfect place to stay, with no lost luggage, friendly people always willing to help, perfect weather, and two wonderful people back in Salem who did such a fabulous job of taking care of our house and kitty!

We've had a great day tackling our mountain of laundry, making a little grape juice, decorating the house for the start of the holidays and getting and receiving hugs and kisses from one loving kitty! Now it is time to ready ourselves for General Conference this week end and fill our Spirits.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Day 10

Even without alarms we woke up at 5:30 this morning. We took our time getting ready this morning and after hitting Safeway for breakfast we headed once again for the Metro. Our first stop of the day was Arlington National Cemetery. This was one of our most favorite places of the entire trip. We were able to see John F. Kennedy’s grave and the eternal flame, the grave of Robert Kennedy, the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and a caisson from the distance. What a reverent visit.

It was back to the Metro and to the office of Rep. Darlene Hooley for our tour of the Capitol. There were 11 of us total in our tour. The Capitol was another amazing building. So much to see and learn. The most fun room of the tour was the “Whispering Room” where our guide walked across the room and whispered to us across the floor and we could hear him perfectly. There is a story that goes with this, but the Capitol was so noisy with all the tours that were going on I hardly heard a word the guide said!

After our tour of the Capitol and a stroll around the grounds for a few more pictures, we decided it was time to head to Union Station for an early dinner – and yes, I got away without having to eat another hot dog! Union Station really is a grand place when you aren’t in the depths of the sewer pits! We didn’t realize just how magnificent that building is until we walked the upper floors this afternoon. After sharing a Turkey Wrap and our tummies were full we headed back to our hotel room for a quick rest before heading back to the Capitol Mall with our cameras and the tripod. Oh, my goodness, the views of everything at night! Some spots were so very quiet and reverent, but the Lincoln Memorial was absolutely buzzing with activity!

We’ve seen so much this week our heads are swimming with images of all the places we’ve visited. We’ve walked so many miles our feet are tired. It has been a great week and we’ve enjoyed sharing our trip with you each day. There is so much more we could have shared with you about our trip. All of the interesting people: The man on the bus on the way to Mt. Vernon who had relatives in Salem at one time and who spit whenever he talked. The father and daughter who were in our tour group at the Washington Monument; she was giving him a few carefree days at the Capitol before heading to Virginia for cancer treatments. The “Dinner group” at the table next to ours Tuesday night in the hotel dining room, old retirees out on the town. The amazingly nice people on the Metro and Buses and the ebb and flow of the Metro travelers. It’s a different life and language here. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better time. But it is time to go home and I have to admit I am ready. I’m ready to sleep in my own bed, eat my own food, get back to my own simple life, have that kitty of ours wake us up too early in the morning and get busy living the next 30 years with Neal!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Day 9

Today wasn’t as long as yesterday, however it seemed just as long due to the fact that Shara has a cold. I guess riding Metro can be hazardous to your health! Purell is quickly becoming a staple on our daily commutes. We started bright and early this morning with breakfast from Safeway again. Can’t beat that soymilk!

Then it was another Metro ride and off to the Washington Monument, we had tickets for 9:30. What an amazing monument. I have to admit I was more than apprehensive about going up to the top of the monument because of my fear of heights. But it was amazing! The elevator ride was only approximately 70 seconds long and the view was incredible. We could even see the Washington D.C. temple!

Our next stop was over to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. The National Museum of American History was closed for renovation, which was a disappointment for us because that museum houses a sunstone from the Nauvoo Temple. But we came to find out the National Air and Space Museum was housing a small exhibit from the American History Museum and the sunstone was included in that exhibit, so we weren’t disappointed after all!

On our way to our next stop we grabbed another hot dog from a street vendor, hopefully our last! We found a bench and sat down to enjoy (?) our lunch. No sooner had we taken our first bite than a little sparrow came begging for food, so Neal tossed him a morsel off his bun. Well, that brought a whole flock of sparrows and they had the biggest fight over those little bread morsels! It was a fun diversion for the bustle of the city.

Our next stop was at the Holocaust Museum. We had tickets for 1:00 but we arrived about an hour early and the lady said they were slow today so we could just trade our tickets in for tickets to get in right then. We spent about 2 hours here. It was interesting but we had mixed emotions about the exhibit.

Then it was a walk down to the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. By this time we were pretty spent so we made one last stop to visit Albert Einstein and get a picture of Shara on his lap! We tried to get a picture of Neal on his lap too, but a bunch of kids came and took over the monument before we could get it done. So we proceeded to catch our train home.

We ate dinner in the dining room on the main floor of our hotel tonight because Shara wasn’t feeling well. Had the best meatloaf and hamburger! Then it was a quick trip to Safeway to buy some cough syrup and Kleenexes. On our way back to the hotel we took a side trip down to the nightlife to get a few pictures. It’s to bed early tonight and no alarm tomorrow!

Side note to yesterday’s events: While we were having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and group of about 6 people came and sat outside to eat. They had a pretty good order with drinks and entrĂ©es. They were having a pretty good time out there, when all of a sudden, when there were no servers outside, they all took off at a sprint. Everyone around them outside was just sitting there a gasp, as were Neal and I watching from inside! I had never seen someone actually skip out without paying before. I felt so sorry for the server.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Day 8

What a full day. We were up at 5:30. Ran to Safeway which is a block away and got some breakfast, soy milk & muffin for Shara - chocolate milk and danish for Neal. We sat on a bench outside the Safeway store to eat our breakfast. Neal said we looked like two high-class homeless people! I'm sure we were a site!

Our first stop for the day was Mt. Vernon. We did such a good job of riding the Metro today. We had to change from the Red line at Gallery Place/Chinatown to catch the Yellow line and take it all the way to the end of the line at the Huntington station. Then we had to catch bus 101 to Mt. Vernon. One thing that has impressed both Neal and me is how quick people are to help. When we got off the bus at Mt. Vernon we weren't sure just where to go. We were just kind of standing there looking confused when the bus driver asked us what we were looking for and headed us in the right direction. The people here have been so friendly.

Mt. Vernon was so worth the trip. It is so amazing to be walking the grounds where history took place. We started our self-guided tour with a short movie about George Washington. It was a real good movie and really set the tone to begin our tour. We took the guided tour through the manion and walked the ground by ourselves and took millions of pictures. I've always been the picture taker in the family, but I think Neal got the better pictures today!

After Mt. Vernon we went to the Capitol Mall. What an amazing place! The sites and people almost make one dizzy! The first stop on the Mall was to get a hot dog from a vedor! We were famished and couldn't take in another site till our tummies were full. Then it was off to the Archives building where we got to see the original copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Again, how amazing to see these documents that were penned so long ago.

Our next stop was at the Old Post Office tower to see the "second best view of Washington D.C." How beautiful! Again we took a million pictures. After coming down from the tower we just HAD to get an ice cream cone at Ben & Jerries. Sorry Alicia they didn't have key lime. Shara had chocolate peanut butter swirl and Neal had coconut almond cookie dough. Then it was off to see Ford's Theater. It was closed for renovation, so we crossed the street to the Peterson house where President Lincoln died. Yet again, the emotions of standing amidst so much history.

Then it was on to the White House (Yep, the ol' puppies are getting pretty tired by now!). We go merrily walking down Pennsylvania Avenue when we come across the White House so we start taking a million-and-a-half pictures only to find out we are taking pictures of the Treasury building! The White House is next door! Do we look like STUPID TOURIST?????

The real White House is gorgeous. We took almost a million pictures there. The one picture I didn't get was the throng of people all taking pictures of the White House! Funny story here. We asked a guy if he would take a picture of the two of us and as we were waiting for him to take the picture we were noticing he had the camera at the oddest angle and he was taking forever! The lady next to him took the camera from him and took a couple pictures herself. She didn't do much better, she chopped Neal's head off! So after they were done taking pictures for us we waited a bit and walked a few steps another direction then asked another man if he would mind taking our picture. He was really cute. He didn't speak any English but he understood what we wanted and did a great job. When he was through a lady came up to us and said he was from France and didn't speak English!

After this it was time to head home so we caught the Metro back to Bethseda. After dropping things off at our room and washing our faces, we headed back to the Metro to go back to the Friendship Heights station and have dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Oh My Goodness! Neal and I shared an entree of Lemon Herb Chicken (which was a whole half of a chicken!), then for dessert I had key lime cheese cake and Neal had chocolate peanut butter cheese cake. This was our fancy meal of our trip. The walk back to the Metro this time was very slow!

Question for the day: If you are celebrating your 30th wedding anniversary, are you supposed to act like adults?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Friday - Sunday

Day 7-
Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Sabbath! I love the Sabbath. It is such a day of renewal and rest. Another day to fill the soul.

Neal and I were able to get down to the metro in good time and were familiar with the Metro enough that we felt fairly confident in getting to church without incident, especially since I called the chapel yesterday and got a voice on the other end who was able to give me directions to the building. "You get off at the Frienshipheights station, go away from the construction, opposite Bloomingdale and up Western 1 block." That sounded easy enough! Well we surfaced from the Friendshipheights metro stop and couldn't find Western Avenue anywhere! So we started walking and still couldn't find it. We were standing in the middle of a block when a taxi had to stop because of a red light and I motioned for him to roll his window down and asked him where Western Avenue was. He said two blocks the other direction! So we were off again. Just as we approached Western Avenue, we hear the taxi driver who I had asked about Western Avenue next to us asking us where we wanted to go on Western and when I said, "the LDS church," he said, "I don't know where that is," and drove off. We think he was looking for a fare. True to the voice on the phone at the chapel, the building was 1 block away, one very long block away! But we made it before the opening song and prayer. It was a real pretty older chapel.

On our way up to church as we approached Western Avenue we noticed a second "Friendshipheights" metro station. We thought "what?" So on our way home from church we decided to take this closer metro station down to the train and see where it took us. When we got down to the train we noticed there was a sign saying "Jennifer Ave left - Western Ave right".
Quote for the day: "Each new Metro stop brings a new experience."

Day 6 -
Saturday, September 29, 2007

Apparently Friday completely wore the two of us out because we slept in till 7:30! Tomorrow we will definitely have to set an alarm. It took us a while to actually get going and out the door, but we soon were off to take in a session in the Washington DC temple! We felt more confident this morning finding our way around on Metro, but when we had to transfer to the bus, the attendant in the booth didn't understand us and we couldn't understand him, so we were on our own. We managed to find the right bus stop and were soon on our way. Neal was smart and thought to tell the bus driver the stop where we needed off. The driver actually missed our stop but we noticed it as we passed so the driver let is off in the middle of the block and there were no sidewalks so we were pretty much trudging through the weeds and dirt! I'm sure we looked pretty funny to the natives! But I kept telling myself that no one here knows me and they will never see me again! So on we trudged and we soon found the temple. It was so nice to be in the temple, to be in a familiar place albeit a strange building and to feel the peace that is within the walls of any temple! Ahhhhh, a most rejuvenating couple of hours! Soon it was time to leave the walls of safety and enter the chaos of life. But the walk back to the bus station was shorter and we soon found ourselves on our way back to Bethesda!

Back at our hotel we made a quick change into comfortable clothes and headed to Safeway to get some much needed personal items, something to eat Sunday after meetings, and some much craved fresh fruit! Then it was off to the zoo. Back to the metro. Interesting bit about the metro is that it runs underground for the most part which means you have to get under ground to catch the trains. So there is this LONG escalator that takes you down. It is quite impressive!

The Zoo was fun but we didn't see many animals. Here again, did Portland spoil me? We did get to see the Giant Panda's and that was Neal's whole purpose in going.

Upon returning home we ran downtown, got some Baja Fresh and Haagen-Dazs,and came back to eat in the hotel room so Shara could listen to the General Relief Society Broadcast. What a feast physically and spiritually!

We are finding the people here very friendly. Riding the bus from the temple we sat next to a real young family - mother, father and 5 month old baby. You know me, I can't sit next to a baby without saying hi! I talked Mom a bit and was surprised when she got off the bus before us and said good-bye. Then walking back from the zoo to catch our train we found the people friendly and soon found ourselves in a short conversation with another small family. Good to feel among friends!

Question for the day – “does a brown belt go with black pants?”

Day 5-
Friday, September 28, 2007

We checked out of our stinky hotel around 11:30 this morning, checked our bags in the front desk and caught a quick lunch at Vie de France, a cute little cafe right next to the hotel that is open only for lunch. We returned back to the hotel to get our bags and I about fell over when Neal actually tipped the bellhop. She was this sweet little ol’ African-American woman who looked like she should have someone waiting on her instead of the other way around. Then it was a quick ride to the Amtrak station. I’m beginning to think that I just must live in the most beautiful place on earth because here again I found the Richmond Amtrak station pale in comparison to the station in Salem.

We should have taken longer for lunch because we soon found ourselves with a 2-½ hour wait for our departure time. So we pulled out a couple of old Sudoku puzzles to do and soon found that our 2-½ hour wait quickly turned into a 4-½ hour wait! Once on the train it was such a gorgeous ride! And the ride was true to schedule and took only 2 hours! Oh, another shocker at the Amtrak station is Neal actually tipped our taxi driver! Oh my, twice in one day! Anyone who knows how Neal hates to tip will know what a wonder that was!!!

Upon arriving in Washington D.C., we found ourselves totally unprepared for the chaos of Union Station! We weren’t in Kansas anymore. You could lose yourself there in a heartbeat without even trying! But we found our way through the maze, got our luggage and made it to the metro line and survived. Well, almost. Remember the incident Shara had with her hotel key? Well, that same magnetic closure in her purse wiped out the magnetic strip on our metro passes! So we had to go to the gate and they had to write on our passes the date they would expire and so we now use either the “emergency” gate or the “free” gate. I just hope we don’t have any hassles the rest of the week.

Neal’s impression of the Amtrak depot as you just pull into Union Station is that of a Charles Dickens’s book, much like a dungeon. When he said that I immediately thought of “Oliver Twist”. It was kind of creepy down there. You half expected to see rats running all over, not an inviting place to be sure!

Riding the metro was our next nervous event of the day. We weren’t sure just how we were going to be able to manage our luggage and ourselves and make it on to the subway in one piece. Well, we did and the end of the line for us stops right at our hotel! Couldn’t ask for more than that!

And our hotel room is wonderful. We have a KING size bed! I think we need a ladder to get up into it though. After checking in to our room we walked a few blocks away and had a quick bite at The Austin Grill. It was an interesting walk to and from our restaurant. So many families among the partiers! The neighborhood had the feel of nightlife, but to see families with small kids gave it an interesting atmosphere. Neal said it felt like Disneyland with all the families.

Riding Amtrak!

View of DC from window of Amtrak!

Surfacing from the depths of the Amtrak sewer pit!

Union Station

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 4

The highlight for today was a run to the Capitol for a tour on Neal's lunch hour. We thought we were supposed to wait for the tour guide since that is what every one else was doing, and were told it would only take 45 minutes for the tour. Well, we got this very sweet Mrs. Allen who was out tour guide and who really knew her history of Virginia and was really interesting to listen to, but when Neal only had an hour and it looked like this tour was going to take about twice as long as indicated, we ditched the guide with only 10 minutes to spare and did the "self-guided, see what you can see in 3 minutes" tour and finished up on our own! I have to say there is something for standing on the same ground our forefathers lived, fought and died on. Gives one the feeling of standing in a sacred and holy place.

I think we are both ready to end our stay in Richmond and move on to Washington D.C. We've learned there are a lot of places to eat lunch right around our hotel but dinner is another story. There are a lot of places to eat in Shockoe Slip if you like the night life and drinking! So tonight we ended up back at Quisno's for a not so good sandwich! We were both craving ice cream for dessert and found the closest place to get some was about a mile away! Bummer.

Before dinner we took the "Canal Walk." It was cute, very short and somewhat stinky! It looked like they might be working on it to expand it. I hope they clean it up, too! It could be a really nice place to take a stroll if they just clean it up and expand it a bit. Maybe the waterfronts in Salem and Portland have spoiled me! At least those two don't stink!

Oh, Shara did learn that you can't keep your hotel key in a pocket in your purse that is next to a magnetic closure! She wiped out two keys before she realized why her key wouldn't let her into her room!

So, as we get ready to end our time in Richmond, we will take with us memories of walking the Capitol building and grounds, walking the quant Shockoe Slip with cobbled streets, the cutest bell tower outside our hotel, and sleeping in a double bed reminiscent of starting out 30 years ago. And we will say good by to our stinky room, Richmond's nightlife, and our double bed!

Canal walk

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 3

Today started out without incident - the alarm most certainly did go off this morning. It did not go off yesterday or I would have heard that annoying sound!

Today was a quiet day in the hotel room for me, Shara. I spent the day listening to BYU-TV via the internet. It was so nice to just relax and listen to some uplifting talks. My favorite talk was by sister Barbara Thompson the new General Relief Society Second Counselor given at this years Women's Conference. I laughed and cried through the entire talk! Good for the soul.

After Neal's classes ended for the day we walked down "Shockoe Slip," a tree-lined cobble stone street and had dinner at Peking Pavilion. The dinner was good, but way too much for us to eat by ourselves, made us wish Alicia and Randy were there to share it with us. Neal had his usual Sweet & Sour chicken and I tried some thing called Mu Shu Pork (if I remember right!) It was shredded pork with scallions, mushrooms and cabbage served with flour pancakes and plum sauce. I asked the server if the pancakes were like American pancakes or if they were different. He said they were "Chinese pancakes" but didn't offer any further explanation. When my dinner came I found that the pancakes turned out to be none other than tortillas! So apparently I was to put my Mu Shu Pork in a tortilla with some plum sauce and roll it up to eat which I did, only omitting the plum sauce cause I wasn't real wild about that.

Shockoe Slip

After dinner we took a walk up to the State Capitol, toured the grounds and took a lot of pictures. With every picture I took Neal said "you need to blog that, you need to blog that!" I'm not going to bore you with the 1,300 picture I took of the Capitol (just an estimate of course!) but I will share a few of my favorite and say good night for now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Day 2

Today didn't start as early as yesterday by a long shot! In fact it almost started too late. We both slept throught the alarm. Actually I don't remember hearing the alarm go off. I woke up at 7:30 wondering what that bright light was outside our window. When I got up to see what was causing such a bright light Neal kept asking me what time it was. Since I didn't have my glasses on I couldn't see anything so I kept saying "I can't see anything!" Besides, the clock was right next to his face! When I opened the curtains I found that the bright light was the sun and I then asked Neal what time it was! To say the least, Neal had to hurry and shower and run to his conference. I think he was able to only find a few crumbs for his breakfast on his rush in to the conference! I hope the alarm goes off tomorrow morning!

Not much happened today. I spent the day mostly in the hotel room arranging our luggage, listening to a little BYU tv over the internet, reading a little (yes Alicia I started "Poisonwood Bible"), crocheted a bit and looked out the window a lot! Neal and I took a short walk this evening over to the State Capitol. We are only three short blocks away. We are hoping to spend more time walking the grounds tomorrow evening.

I'm not much impressed with our room. It is okay, but it smells funny. But the view makes up for the smell cause we look right out at the State Capitol building! How gorgeous is that!!!!! And they do have a cute little bell tower right outside.

I guess that is it for today.
Talk to you again tomorrow!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Day 1

The journey begins~

Our day started at 2:30 this morning which meant we had about 4 1/2 hours of sleep, very reminiscent of our days as ordinance workers.

The ride to PDX was very uneventful and check in was a breeze and we were soon on our way.
Observation - Blueberry breakfast cheesecake tastes heavenly inflight!

Our flight to JFK was to be about 5 hours, but we our arrival was delayed 30 minutes due to "VIP traffic." Hmmm, I wonder who that could be! Sure enough President Bush had flown in and out of JFK and messed everything up. We didn't like JFK much. It was dirty and ugly. But just as JFK was dirty, ugly and unpleasant, the people were colorful, and kind and friendly. I wish I could have taken pictures of all the different cultures and nationalities and recorded the different languages and accents. This was my kind of Disneyland! I was in awe and wonder of the people. Reminded me of Loui Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"

As we were sitting in JFK waiting for our flight to Richmond, we were amazed at the speed in which they were getting the flights back up after the "VIP" delays. That is until we boarded our flight (which was on time by the way) and had to wait an hour or so on the tarmack for take off! After waiting for 30 minutes or so we were informed that we were 30 or 40 in line for take off! At least the terminal was clearing out!

Observation - I've always had a fear of places I've never been, you know those preconceived ideas we get in our heads. Sitting in JFK I almost forgot I wasn't home and noticed that people are people no matter where you are!

We will say good night for today!
Here are a few pics from today.

I'ts all about being a cheesy tourist, isn't it!

Just a few of the interesting people we were able to capture on camera!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September 23, 2007

Once upon a time there were two very weathered spoons who decided they would spread their wings, step out of their internet comfort zone and enter the world of THE BLOG!

These two very weathered spoons are sure you will find the coming "postings" very entertaining as they come to learn this new world of blogging.

So, welcome to the TWOWEATHEREDSPOONS blog!