More Maranatha

64223092_10157373946312380_4495364482846949376_n  We are still hard at work in the cabinet shop, making lots more sawdust and some other stuff too.  Ok, all the desk cabinets are finished, and are being installed, and we are working hard to get drawers finished and bookcases built.

 

In case you can’t read it, the bucket of sawdust and scraps says “Desiccated Coconut”

Here are some of our cabinets being installed in the dorm rooms.  New flooring has been placed, some of it still covered with masking for protection from work in the closet area.

The bookcases we are creating now will be stained to match the lower cabinets, and hung on the wall above them.

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Here are some of the beat up old drawers that we are replacing! Think it’s time??

 

I’ve seen a bit of wildlife on my early morning runs around nearby Holmes Lake.  Lots of Tri-color Blackbirds, a Meadowlark, and other nice birds, but one critter stopped me in my tracks!  A cute little skunk was walking across the trail.  As he leisurely ambled away, it dawned on me that I could take a picture with my phone, so here is proof of a peacable skunk encounter.

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Here are better shots of early morning Holmes Lake…

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Becky, Kevin and our grandkids Dayna and Peter drove down from Minnesota to spend a little time with us.  Kevin worked a couple of days in the cabinet shop with us.  Kevin even let us celebrate his birthday with him! Six flavors of iced bundt cakes… fantastic!

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To celebrate the 4th of July, the shop shut down a couple of hours early, and we went to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.  I told the gal at the ticket booth I’m not from Lincoln and I’m not a child, but she let me but a ticket anyway.

They are rebuilding this zoo, and it was a nice zoo to start with.  There is a very clever area where kids can climb in a structure that surrounds a monkey cage, so it looks and feels like they are really in with the monkeys.  They have a giraffe feeding area that is set up for little ones to be at giraffe mouth level. Kids can buy lettuce, and then have great fun when the giraffe reaches out with an enormously long tongue and eagerly grabs and gobbles. Lots of gobbling and giggling!

The tiger cage has a jeep bisected by the glass of the enclosure.  If you’re lucky, the tiger will sit in the passenger seat and you can sit by him in the driver’s position.  We didn’t get that photo, but did get some of our grandkids and their cousins.

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A couple of rescued Bald Eagles were being fed.  Magnificent birds! I couldn’t get them to move fully out of the shadows and this guy looks ticked at me for asking!

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We saw a Lemur,

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A Fossa,

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A camel who looks like he could use a dentist,

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and someone else with teeth I’d rather not work on…

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Pretty birds,

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And odd birds,

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(I had to cut this guy in half because a cage wire was in the way!)

And what would a zoo be without Peacocks?

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And a Parrot or two.

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Of course the cutest animals in the zoo were the grandkids and their cousins…

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That evening we had a very special cake… decorated by Dayna and cousin Charlotte, it was very surprising when sliced!  Once again, Becky has created a great fun desert!

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Here’s Why You Want To Go To Leavenworth

Far from being a prison like the Leavenworth in Kansas, this Leavenworth is a charming little Swiss village hidden in the mountains of northwest Washington.  The buildings are all attractively old world styled, and beautiful flowers are everywhere.  I could have stayed a month just to try all the inviting restaurants!

 

 

A great little art show was one of the first attractions.

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Gustav’s won our patronage for lunch, and served up a great feast!

 

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I’m not sure what the extremely tall blue striped spire is… any thoughts?

 

We met a VERY TALL Knight:

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We didn’t ride a horse drawn carriage:

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I enjoyed just looking at all the interesting architecture

 

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And the beautiful locale

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But best of all, a Father’s Day on the river!

 

Nearby Wenatchee has a beautiful park on the river, and a sculpture memorial to a legend about the Coyote:  It seems a long time ago, some Swallows dammed up the river so the Salmon couldn’t get upstream, and the Indians upstream were starving. So the Coyote disguised himself as a little baby, snuck in among the Swallows, and while they weren’t looking he sabotaged the dam.  He then guided the Salmon upstream, and everyone lived happily ever after.  Unless of course you were the Salmon eaten by Indians.  I’m not convinced it is a true story…

 

 

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We are now back in Lincoln, Nebraska, where we will be volunteering with Maranatha to remodel some rooms in the girl’s dorm at Union College.  That project starts Monday, and should make a substantial improvement in some of the girls’ rooms.

 

We had a tremendous thunderstorm one evening!  Amazing how lightening can flash instantly across the whole sky, every couple of seconds, for hours!

Here is the view from our current motorhome location:

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One other fun thing… While in Florida, we decided to upgrade our Jeep.  We wanted a bigger four wheel drive vehicle that we can tow behind the motorhome, and can fit 6 people and luggage if needed. We decided a Chevy Suburban would be ideal. I called my buddies at Mile High Car Helper for advice only, since I didn’t think they could help me from Denver.  But I was wrong!  They arranged for my Jeep to be picked up, and found a beautiful Suburban for us, and had it shipped to Lincoln to meet us!

 

It looks absolutely brand-new, and is just what we wanted.  If you need to buy a car, Rich and Ryan at Mile High Car Helper in Denver can work miracles!  Even with all the shipping, I saved thousands over what I had been able to work out without them.  Painless and easy.

 

The paint on our beautiful home is all brown and tan swirls, and makes me think of ice cream… so I’ve been calling it “Fudge Ripple”.  Now with the white Suburban, I was afraid we’d have to call it “Vanilla”.  But Becky suggested “Marshmallow”…  So now I guess we live with Fudge Ripple and Marshmallow.  Life is good!

Why Would You Want To Go To Leavenworth?

Our Kids have been talking about the beauty of Leavenworth for a long time now.  The image that came to my mind was this:

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Leavenworth Prison, Leavenworth, Kansas
By Americasroof – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8727865

But it turns out they were right! (Imagine that!)  Leavenworth, Washington is a very charming mountain town that looks transplanted from Switzerland.  We had so much fun, and I took so many pictures, that I haven’t had time to get them together for this blog.  So here are a few pictures from a walk in a park in Leavenworth.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll get the rest of the adventure online…

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Spinning Yarns and Telling Tails

Agricultural and Industrial Plants

SAGE Center is an agricultural museum in northern Oregon.  We combined a trip to the SAGE center with a visit to Pendleton Mills, where they make the most beautiful woolen goods!  Here is a short video with a hint of what goes on there…

 

 

More Flight Time

I was privileged to catch a couple more flights: first to Spokane, Washington and then to Lewiston, Idaho with the corporate jets.

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I also got a couple flights in Loren’s “new” Cheyenne twin turbine zooming machine!  Big, fast and beautiful!

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Self-Portrait in the Shiny Spinner:

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Bridges over Pasco:

 

Towing it back to the hanger from the fuel station:

 

Foxy Flying Wife:

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Safety Video

The family had lots of fun putting together a “Family Airline Flight Safety Video”, which will be required viewing prior to any flight!

 

 

 

Back to JAX

Denver

The last couple of weeks have flown by… Last week I was too tired to put up anything but the cool Sandhill Cranes… Now for a bit that was missed…

Our headquarters while in Denver has been with good friends Lonnie and Laura.  They hare awesome hosts!  We took a few drone shots one day, and then that night we got snow, so a few more drone shots the next morning.

 

Ft Collins

Saturday afternoon was spent in Ft Collins with more dear friends; Giny and Joe.  We took the drone out to play in the middle of nowhere.  My phone/drone interface wasn’t working well, so I don’t have much worthwhile footage, but we had fun!  Here is a picture that proves, at least in Joe’s case, we never really have to grow up!

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Eastward Bound

I decided that because we had two months worth of luggage, including all our SCUBA gear, we would get a big rental car. (See above). However, that Chevy Tahoe seemed far bigger than we needed.  Since we were planning on driving all the way to Florida, when a light flashed on saying it wanted its oil changed, I offered Hertz to swap cars before we left Denver.  I figured we would get a slightly smaller car for the trip.  They were happy to swap, except they didn’t give me smaller… they moved us up to a Suburban.  Same basic vehicle, just about 2 feet longer!  Funny.  We had plenty of room and grew to like the big old thing.

 

Lincoln

We spent a few days in Lincoln with Cherryl’s family – Jeanne, Steve and Mom Joanne. We even got to see Crista, Josh and William: niece and her family.  No pictures though, so maybe it never happened. 😉

 

Atlanta

The next weekend was spent in Atlanta… I have several places I want to see in Atlanta, and we did none of them!  We had a relaxing day driving in the country, soaking up views of pretty forested areas, spring flowers, and even a few animals.   I had no idea Atlanta could be so beautiful! So we will return!

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We drove to Buford Dam – like most dams, a beautiful lake on one side, a river on the other.  Both sides were filled with people boating, fishing, or looking for wildlife.

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This little guy was with a few others just out of the park.

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About one hour out of Jacksonville, Florida, we were driving our cool big Suburban, when the peace was shattered by the sound of an explosion!  The left rear (portside aft) tire blew, and did it very dramatically!  But no problem keeping it in control; we just pulled off and tried to get the tire changed.  The problem was getting the spare out from under the truck… once we got the trick figured out, it was pretty easy.  A nice guy stopped to help us, and he had a hydraulic jack that saved us using the Chevy’s jack. A nice welcome back to Florida!

 

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

This is a wonderful campground!  We’re glad to be back!  We’ve spent some time getting paperwork caught up, doing some trailer maintenance, and even some resting up.

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We haven’t gotten the kayak in the lake here yet, but we’re anxious to go alligator hunting!  There are hundreds of birds hanging out on the little islands in the lake, and great fun watching them this evening.

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Here is an Osprey diving for dinner…

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His take out order is here…

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And now he has to show off by flying it past all the neighbors.

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And so ends another week…

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Celebrations in Colorado

Sayonara Japan

In our last episode 🙂 we were about to leave Tokyo…  Japan was fabulous, but a lot of it is not good drone flying territory.  The views were awesome, but you’re not supposed to fly over congested areas (Tokyo??) or historic monuments (Kyoto??).  So I caught a few aerial shots of Tokyo and Kyoto and quit before I ended up in a Japanese prison.  Or whatever.  Notice the guy wearing a (very common) face mask to work.

 

 

A Beautiful Centenarian

One major reason for the timing of our return to Denver was a celebration for a dear friend, Lucille, on her 100th birthday!  She is such a sweetheart that over 400 people showed up for the party!  I think all enjoyed it tremendously, with the possible exception of my little grandson Peter…  Here’s the evidence…

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Dr. Mike and some of the team with Lucille

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100 cupcakes, and at least 10 large cakes!  A wonderful celebration for a great lady!

 

Escape!

That afternoon some of us volunteered to be locked in a room and not released until we had solved the Cuban Missile Crisis… or a bunch of themed puzzles and riddles to find the key to escape.  We made it with 17 minutes to spare!

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Ukulele Education

My clever grandson is learning to play the Ukulele, and doing an amazing job of it!  So it was decided to get him a better instrument, from Gary, Ukulele master and head of the Rocky Mountain Ukulele Orchestra. ukuleleorchestra.org

After testing many “ukes” and lots of consideration, a beautiful ukulele was chosen.  This is Gary restringing it with better strings.  We all learned a lot!

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Keystone

We spent a few days with one of our daughters and her family in Keystone.  The weather was very nice, and the spring skiing was… well, spring skiing.  The snow was too icy in the morning, perfect a lot of the day, and pretty slushy towards the end of the day.  But in spite of less than optimal snow, we had a fabulous time.  The scenic beauty would be worth the trip even if you didn’t like the skiing!  (But I loved the skiing!!)  This little video was made with grandkids in mind – hope you enjoy it too!

 

Dillon Reservoir

Thursday we spent part of the day exploring the beautiful frozen Dillon Reservoir.  A shot of my granddaughter sitting on a park bench shows how deep the snow still is!

 

Good Friends

Part of the fun of this trip has been seeing lots of good friends that we have missed.  Brad and Bill didn’t think they would end up in this blog, so – This Pix’s for you, Brad and Bill!

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And in the tradition of closing with a sunset, here is the last evening in Keystone.

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A Country Christmas

Silver Dollar City Campsite Cabins

Sunday evening we met Becky, Kevin, Dayna and Peter at the Silver Dollar Wilderness Campground in Branson, Missouri.  The campground and cabins were very quiet over Christmas.  We felt we were the only ones here.  We made a provisioning run and tried to buy enough food for the week.  It was a trick finding places to stow it in the little cabin!

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Here is a video overview of the campground and cabin…

 

Christmas morning was special in many ways, but one you can see is the lot of us in matching PJ’s.  A first time for me!

 

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Silver Dollar City is an amusement park with a very laid back, Christian feel.  The old steam train is a fun ride through the woods, and stopped on one place while an “old timer” read the story of the birth of Christ, and emphasized the meaning of Christmas.  Nice references to God are all over.  It’s done tastefully and quite refreshing in this commercial world!  Not that they are non-commercial!! They claim to have more lights than any other park, with over 6.5 million lights up this year.  EVERYTHING is lit up!  I’ll admit to being blown away with the gorgeous lights.   I tried taking pictures, but there is no way to capture the feeling of all those lights!

 

 

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During the day, the park is themed as a small city in the 1880’s.  There are craftsmen working – blacksmiths, glassblowers, woodworkers, etc.  Except if it is too cold some of those are frozen out…  but there are tons of things to see and do.  Other parts of the park feature amusement park rides – several awesome roller coasters in particular.  One called the Time Traveler may be the coolest coaster I’ve ever done!

Wednesday we spent the day in the park, and went back to the cabin for dinner.  After the grandkids went to bed, we left Cherryl to watch them and went back to the park to hit the more advanced coasters.  The cold and the beginning rain drove most of the sane people out of the park, so we had no waiting in lines that had been terribly long during the day.  Most roller coasters are more fun in the dark, but when you add cold and rain the effect is quite dramatic!  We had a great time even though we ended up soaked!  I appreciated that the rain drove out people getting in the way of my photos, and the wet pavement made for great reflections.

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Thursday we attended Dolly Parton’s Stampede – kind of a rodeo where they serve you dinner while you watch!  They did a great job of feeding 1,100 people simultaneously while we watched trick horseback riding!  The food was pretty good, and the show was really amazing.  Backdrops were magical, a small ice rink dropped down from the ceiling for a mini-ice show, and there was even a whole nativity scene enacted.  Good Job, Dolly!

The later it got in the week, the colder it got!  Friday we were back at Silver Dollar City, but most of the rides were closed because it was only 32 degrees!  We were glad that wasn’t our only day there…  Here is a cute family with frozen noses!  We’ve had a great Christmas Week with these kids and grandkids!

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Socks of Rocks

 

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Our great time with our kids in Washington was drawing to a close, so we had a little mini-Christmas celebration with them before we left.  Sunday was our early Christmas – we were to have all the great Christmas food, and even open some presents. So “Christmas Eve”, Saturday afternoon, we hiked to the top of Mt Badger, all of 1,500 feet.  It felt a lot higher than that – I think I’m out of shape!  The view from the top was nice, and it got dark just as we got back down… in time to show off someone’s extravagant Christmas lights.  Clever computerized lights synchronized to music that you could hear on your car’s FM radio.  Probably the most elaborate setup I’ve seen on a private home.

 

First thing in the morning we all checked out our Christmas Stockings… there was a new one in the group, with the initial E identifying it.  The grandkids wondered a bit about whose that could be… maybe the dog?  Hunter?  Why would his stocking have an E on it??  When Ashlyn emptied her stocking she found nothing but paper and rocks!  She looked close to tears!  And Bryan had the same fate!  In fact, all of us got nothing but rocks in our socks!  Then we discussed why that might be… and the grandkids came up with the fact that we are all sinners, and deserve nothing.  Then after a few wrong guesses, Ashlyn figured out that the E stood for Emmanuel, God with us.  That stocking was full of yummy treasures, which were shared around the room… There was even more hidden around the corner.  The point was rather eloquently made that God gives us far better than we deserve, and there is plenty for all.

 

I bought myself a Christmas present – a toy I’ve been lusting after for a long time – my first drone.  So here are a few shots of my first attempts at flying video.  The fun part is watching Bryan- he was so excited I thought he’d have a stroke!  I first tried tracking Karen and her van, then Bryan wanted to be tracked.  He couldn’t hold still and ran all over the place.  Lots of fun!  Warning: don’t feel like you have to watch the following video unless you like drones or like watching grandsons acting silly!

 

Unfortunately, later that day sickness arrived, and messed up most of our plans.  Somewhere between a third and half of the kids in school were out sick, and our house wasn’t exempt.  Ashlyn was hit pretty hard, and didn’t go back to school till Friday.  Karen was hit slightly more gently, but still out for the week, requiring substitute teachers for her class.  Cherryl and I belatedly got our flu shots and avoided the plague.

 

We were looking forward to the grandkids’ Christmas program Tuesday night, and it was fun even with a good portion of the students absent.  (There were 8 shepherds and 1 sheep!)  Poor Ashlyn was one who had to stay home, as did her mother.

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One of the teachers posted this cartoon in his room… I love it!

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The next morning we set out for Lincoln to spend the weekend with Cherryl’s sister and mother.  We were going to spread the trip out over 3 days, and the first day we made it to Salt Lake City uneventfully.  The next day took us to Cheyanne, Wyoming.  It was very cold and windy!

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For much of the drive, the most beauty was in the sky!

 

Friday morning I saw a couple of interesting cars from our hotel window.  Sometimes when a car manufacturer wants to road test a new model, and not let anyone see what it really looks like, they tack on lots of extra bumps and bulges, fake grilles, and a very strange squiggly paint job to disguise the car.  There were two of these just outside our window.  The drivers started them up, so I had to go down and chat with them.  As I expected, they would not tell me what the cars really were.  There were so many bumps attached to the cars it reminded me of the climbing walls we’d done in Washington!  I was surprised that the entire interior was draped in black cloth, so you couldn’t get any clues there either.  A tiny slit in the drape let the driver see a part of the instrument panel, but even the center of the steering wheel was covered.  I could see two grab handles on the center console, and said it looked like the Porsche Cayenne.  The driver just scoffed.  The only other hint I got was the windshield wipers – a fancy wiper mechanism I’ve only seen on Mercedes and Porsche.  I asked him if there were only these two cars on this test, and he said they had another at the other end of the lot.  He said they’d driven from Southern California, up to Wyoming and would go from there to Nebraska and Minnesota.  Then fly home for Christmas, and then start over with more cars.  As they drove off, I saw the third car – an unadorned Mercedes wagon.  Were these future Mercedes?  Or did Porsche use a Mercedes wagon as a decoy? Am I the only one crazy enough to care??

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So after breakfast, we loaded the Jeep, and didn’t start it.  Sigh.  Sounded like the battery had died.  Maybe it didn’t like the cold any more than we did.  The hotel staff were happy to help me jump start it, but I had to empty the back of the Jeep to get at the cables.  Ok, but not really… because that didn’t do it.  We called AAA, and in only 38 minutes they had a nice guy and a beautiful big truck to help us out.  He tried his battery booster gadget, and that didn’t do it, so we pushed the car out to where we could jump straight from the truck’s system.  No dice.  We concluded that the starter had perished, and we would need a tow.  But our nice tow driver said we had another problem – his winch cable broke last night and he couldn’t tow us.  They’d figured it would just be a jump start, or they would have sent a different truck.  So we waited for a second truck, and called around to see who was still open and able to replace our starter.  One place said they would try to work us in today or maybe tomorrow…

Cherryl had a new friend keep her company in the repair shop…

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But we were fixed up by 2:30, and then on the road again!  So I am trying something new… posting this at 75 mph (or so…) as Cherryl drives.  We should be in Lincoln in a couple of hours… only 7 hours behind our projection!

 

Merry Christmas!!

Colonial Christmas

The Nutcracker Sweet…

We attended a wonderful rendition of the Nutcracker Suite performed by a troupe of mostly high school students.  They danced beautifully, the sets were great, and of course Tchaikovsky’s famous score is always awesome to listen to.

 

Snow Day

Sunday night it snowed, and the schools were placed on a 2 hour delay Monday morning.  This delighted both our grandchildren and our daughter (the teacher), but amused us greatly… because there must have been 3mm of snow!  Ok, I realize the roads may have been icy in spots, but it really was funny!  Here are our grandkids having fun in the huge snowfall!

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Colonial Christmas

We decided to get a few things off the boat, check out the progress there, and rack up a few more flight miles… So while back in Virginia, we spent Thursday evening at Colonial Williamsburg.  All the houses are decorated as they would have been in the 1700’s – so no huge colored lights here!  The one exception is the Williamsburg Inn, which is “off property”, and done up with millions of little white lights.

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I love both architecture and night photography, so I had great fun here.  Most of the houses had a single candle in every window.

 

Every evening they have a ceremonial illumination of the taverns.  (No, I did not get illuminated in a tavern).  The Fife and Drum corps starts at one end of Duke of Glouster street, playing as they march, stopping at every tavern.  There are several taverns on that street, and at each the torch bearers would light 4 cressets, which are wire baskets fixed to posts.  These fires, at about 6 feet off the ground, provided very impressive illumination in the cold dark night.

 

Ice Skating 

It seemed very nostalgic to see open air ice skating on this beautiful clear night…

 

The College of William and Mary

The college was founded in 1693, making it the second oldest in the US, behind Harvard.  King William and Queen Mary would be proud of its beautiful campus.

 

 

Bruton Parish Church Colonial Christmas Concert

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The Bruton Parish Church was completed in 1715.  That was the beautiful venue for a concert by the Manassas Chorale, about 100 voices strong.  And I do mean strong!  They were fabulous, and in that magnificent old church, the concert was almost enough to bring tears to your eyes! (And I must admit, sitting in the harsh 300 year old pews almost brought tears also).  I don’t remember ever seeing a chandelier in a public place with real candles lit before…

They reminded us that it was 200 years ago this Christmas that the organ broke down in a small town in Austria, and the priest couldn’t imagine a Christmas eve service with no music.  So he had a poem he’d written set to music, and performed to guitar accompaniment that beautiful Silent Night.

The concert was breathtaking, and an awesome finale to an evening in Colonial Williamsburg.

 

 

 

 

 

A Week in Washington

Last weekend we made a couple of apple pies.  I’d just seen pictures of some pretty fancy crusts on pies, and volunteered to try something different on our pies.  They were different!  We took them to some friends’ house for dinner Saturday.  Wonderful people, lots of fun… and I liked the dishes, all with different scriptures written on them.  That is, till they served me my pie on a plate that knew I didn’t need dessert… it said “Repent!”

 

Our grandkids had a day in school where they were to dress like what they’d like to do when they grow up.  Bryan was a cowboy, and Ashlyn was a CIA secret agent.

 

Very early one morning I drove Loren to the airport for a commercial flight (yes, he sometimes has to fly commercially).  I wandered around a bit on the way back to the house, and found this cool building all lit up.  Franklin County Courthouse.

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This area is not known for its long growing season.  Here is Karen with her entire carrot crop!

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Decorating the Christmas Tree is always fun!

 

I got to fly with Loren again, this time to Lewiston, Idaho.  A 2.5 hour drive was 25 minutes in the air!  Gotta love Jets!

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If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to descend into and through the clouds, you can watch the short video below.

If you are a crazy lover of all things aviation, like maybe I am, you can watch the long version, where we go through the clouds, land and taxi, all in real time.  Kind of long, so only watch if you are an airplane buff…

 

 

Music by bensound.com