Monday, March 29, 2010

No comment

So, after Thursday's travelogue, I have no comments or reactions. Does that mean no one's read it or that you're all creeped out by our near miss with the beds? I wonder. I'm just trying to be completely honest around here, you know, and that can be a mighty uncomfortable thing.

Don't shoot the messenger.

I don't always find the best cliche for a particular situation, but I try.


I thought I would share a couple of pictures from our vacation.

We started out at Grandpa and Grandma Shaw's in Ohio. We saw many friends and relatives in Columbus and Dayton, although, alas, we couldn't see everyone we wanted to see!

One of the highlights of the week for the kids was getting to open Easter baskets. These baskets (or bags, as the case may be) are a long-standing tradition in the Shaw family. John's mom spends months assembling the toys and books and candy which go into these. With the grandkids growing up and getting older, that tradition may not continue much longer, but we're thankful for it while it lasts!

After Ohio, we went on an overnight visit to West Virginia to see John's brother, Jeff, and his family. Next morning, we drove to Pennsylvania.
A favorite tradition at my parents' church, the church where I grew up, is the St. Patrick's Day pancake breakfast and I was so glad that our visit coincided with the famous event again this year. The men of the church man the griddles and any time a woman appears in the doorway to the kitchen, the cooks bang spatulas and yell until she disappears again.
One can special order pancakes in any shape and the cooks will try to fill it. These guys have become quite skilled over the years. Sam ordered a Mr. Potato Head pancake and this was the result. Pretty creditable, I'd say.

By the end of vacation, we had driven countless miles, visited with numerous old friends and every family member we could find, and had a thoroughly good time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Visual Vacation

The photo in the banner above was taken on the banks of Loch Lomond at sunset. The subject is
Ben Lomond, the mountain peak which dominates that valley. In the original picture, the mountain is a little better centered, but Blogger made the above edit on its own without consulting the photographer.

Here's another photo of the loch itself.

This photo was taken from the grounds of the mansion-cum-youth hostel where the students stayed. The Ben Lomond picture was taken from our hotel room, right on the water's edge (there are some perks to being the chaperones!).

So, we dropped off the students at their hostel and the bus dropped the four chaperones at our lovely hotel. We checked in and headed for our rooms. Tom and I were rooming in together as we had before on the trip.

As we had when we were 5 and 9 years old. Oh, the sibling joys.

We expected the usual: TV, coffee pot, bathroom, and two beds.

We got to the (tiny) room and found TV, coffee pot, bathroom, and...a double bed.

"Oh, no," I thought. "We can never tell *anyone* about this. Especially not the students. They'll think we're freaks for sure. Maybe we can put a row of pillows down the middle of the bed. Maybe I can sleep on the tiny balcony in the freezing cold Highland night. Well, maybe Tom can sleep on the tiny balcony in the freezing cold Highland night."

I love my brother; he's a great brother; especially since he invited me to help chaperone this trip; but the thought of sleeping in the same bed was...just...freaky.

"C'mon, make do; it's not a big deal; it's one night that need never be mentioned again."

And just then, Dean and Nancy (married chaperones) came to our rescue.

"We have two single beds in our room. Would you like to switch rooms?"

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord for twin beds! I think I had never truly appreciated single beds until that moment.

Tom was too kind (or too embarrassed?) to say anything, but I'm pretty sure he was as relieved as I was.

And then, out our window, the sunset was glorious: brilliant pinks, hazy blues, dusky purples, shimmering silver. That would have been amazing enough on its own, but add in the "twin bed blessing" God's power displayed in two different ways!

Okay, the sunset was more impressive, no doubt about it. But I was still thankful for the beds.

So, anyway, enjoy the photos for a little visual vacation. And, if you're like me, dream of the day you'll get back there.

Next time I'm going with John.

And I definitely want a double bed then.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Girly Party

Long, long ago - like, August - I promised Johanna a birthday party.

Why I continue to promise, even "half-promise-maybe-if-we-can-I'm-not-really-sure-yet," I do not know, but she caught me in a moment of weakness. From now on, everything is an unequivocal "No!"

But, anyway. When November came and went with no party, we started talking about a Valentine's Day party. When Valentine's Day came, I had the stomach flu.

Finally, on February 27, we had a Girly Party.

The guest list was so long we had to use the church fellowship hall to contain the crowd! But I used a linen tablecloth, china, flowers, a punch bowl, real forks and spoons, the antique pitcher and china dog-walker, etc. I mentally steeled myself for the inevitable dropped plate or spilled red punch, but, by God's good providence, no such mishap occurred.

Here's the bevvy of beautiful party girls. Don't let the pretty dresses fool you, though. These girls are *loud!* Several times I had to break up the raucousness and remind them to behave like young ladies. I'm wondering now if light saber fights and mud pie wars might have been equally popular! Next year.

We had stations set up on tables: manicures, coloring contest, sticker Valentine craft. Johanna and another guest were the self-appointed judges of the coloring contest and handed out prizes after much serious deliberation. No contestant seemed unduly elated or disappointed by the judges' decisions, probably because the "prizes" were handwritten sheets of paper indicating 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes; the appeals court remained silent.

From my perspective, the most fun came from the moms sitting around and chatting, enjoying the free time to simply sit and talk with other moms; a rare treat for most of us.

So,...Johanna got her party and I got her to stop bugging me for a party...for now. It was a little extra work, but I enjoyed getting out my fancy dishes and making a special day for my girly-girl and her friends.

Next year, though, I'll just make a mud pit in the back yard and let them go to town.

Friday, March 19, 2010

An Ode to The End of Vacation

Vacation is over.
Vacation is done.
Like leaving a lover,
We've finished the fun.

We've driven all over
These United States.
Becoming such rovers
Seems now to be fate.

Our friends are just peachy.
Our fam'lies are well.
We don't like the beachy
So PA is swell.

We ate out so often
Our tummies have grown.
We didn't go golfin'.
We had Bruster's cones.

It's time to go home now.
Let's load up the bus.
We'll work on our new vow
And eat just lettuce!

The sun sets on our day.
Vacation is done.
And really I must say,
"Let's stay home now, hon."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Truth

Some real truth-speaking from Mr. Barry.

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base. ~Dave Barry