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?