Tuesday, August 25, 2009

moving on

Our house has been noisy in a different sort of way since the kids have left: Bobby's been sick, and therefore at home. Which means the TV has been on and on and on and on and...get the picture? I told him whenever he retires he's getting a quota on how much tv he's allowed to watch. There's a limit to how many westerns, oldies, newscasts, and just plain old noise a gal can take. And life has been different without children in another way...our computer network adapter fried itself and is now on it's way to Kentucky to be repaired. I'm rejoicing for warranties!

So yesterday was really my first "home" day without children or a sick husband or visiting family since I stopped work...and I absolutely LOVED it. I had time to do things that seldom, if ever, got done, and I'm targeting one small project every other day. I've cleaned and sorted the pantry top to bottom (that actually took 3 days because I did it with the kids and was interrupted (but they were pleasant interruptions) every few minutes.) Sunday night while Bobby was resting I tackled the monstrous pile on my dresser, and this afternoon I hope to build a frame for my frogs. :O) That sounds funny. I'll explain and post pictures of that project, but I need to sign off as my internet time on the library's computer is about to expire.... so I'm signing off until Thursday my dear blogging family!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

quietly livid

The kids are gone, the house was semi-clean, and we headed outside to handle routine chores. I had just finished dealing with produce (which included throwing ripened, chicken pecked tomatoes AT the chickens), when my dearest comes around the yard and tells me the unbelievable.
All that work I did cleaning out the pantry, preparing jars, buying lids and jar rings for canning the next two weeks...it's worthless. Someone came into the yard between last Sat evening and today and TOOK EVERY SINGLE PEAR AND APPLE OFF OUR TREES!!!! There was probably about a 5 gal bucket of apples left (thankfully I had already done some), but we had yet to pick a pear, and this was probably the nicest looking pears we've had in the last five years. I feel violated. If someone had wanted some, all they had to do was ask and I would have gladly shared. BUT TO TAKE EVERYTHING?!? This is not the first time this has happened. This is what I hate about living where we do. It's isolated, but a nice place. We work our tails off, seldom get to enjoy it, only to find people using and abusing it without asking or caring. It makes me so stinkin' mad! I told Bobby it makes me want to post a sign on the light pole: To our Apple & Pear THIEF, may your stomach rot!
To help me calm down I've tried to catch up on blog reading. And of course I come across the verse, "love thinks no evil"... has anyone found an exemption clause for thieves in that passage?

Monday, August 10, 2009

produce

My pickles are almost finished!!!
And the heirloom tomatoes (Orange-Banana Tomato) have finally ripened.
They don't have as much juice as the red tomatoes, but they taste exactly the same.
I don't know if we'll try to salvage seed from them for next year or not.
Meanwhile, the chickens have discovered my tomatoes and ate 3/4 of 6 on the vine.
A small part of me regrets not letting the dogs eat the chickens yesterday.
But that's a story for tomorrow.



Friday, August 7, 2009

worms

I'm not sure where the pack of worms originated from. Men are forever leaving fishing lures at the pond when they fish, and Mikalai and Aleh were forever scouting the pond's edges to see what "treasures" they could find. But I also had family visiting a few weeks ago who are also fishers and slept in the room the boys now occupy. Regardless, my "superheroes" (that's was one of the many names the Wells twins had for themselves) discovered a pack of sparkly, plastic fishingworms. They had glitter in them. They were worms. They made Lauren squirm a little. And if you stuck them in your hair, you had superhero hair. Out of all the legos, play guns, cars, and toys, the worms seemed to be their favorite toy. Until yesterday, when in a moment of disagreement a worm was torn in two. Convinced they could see the worm's guts, they declared the worms living, not plastic, and totally lost interest. At least for a while. I later found all the worms dismembered.
Today the house is quiet, with my superheroes and their motherly bosses at Grandma's house. The worm pieces are all picked up. And then the phone rings.
Evidently, in addition to all the beanie babies being hung on the back handbar of Mr. Bobby's chair for wheelchair rides (and I checked the back of his chair before he left for work every morning) a worm got a ride as well. Unbeknownst to us, that "living" piece of plastic hopped a ride, and then fell off in the floor in Mr. Bobby's office. Thanks to the Wells Superheroes, no one can ever say state employees or their offices are without sparkle.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

places I'd go again

1. The National Archives: we spent a LONG time in there, and had exhaustion and time not been a factor we could have stayed longer! In addition to getting to see the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carter, the Bill of Rights, and other historical documents, there are SO many exhibits and modern layouts of information! There's a small section on patents, as well as an interactive exhibit where you can attempt to guess what the patent is for. There's a small section displaying letters people have written the Presidents over the years; video footage of funny Presidential speeches or comments; video footage of historical events, and so much more!
2. The Library of Congress. As a child I dreamed of getting locked up in this humongous library overnight. I was disappointed that we didn't actually get to see the stacks, was surprised to find out it actually consists of three HUGE buildings, PLUS a warehouse, and was AMAZED at the main building we saw (the Thomas Jefferson building). It's an art and historian lovers' dream. We didn't get to take the organized tour of this building, but heard enough from various groups passing by that we learned quite a bit. I also bought a book to read on the way home that gave more information about the LOC and its artwork and buildings.

3. Arlington National Cemetery...did you know this was Robert E. Lee's property that was confiscated during the Civil War, turned into a school for freed blacks, and then later a burial place for Union Soldiers? It wasn't until years later that his family was reimbursed for the land. And it also houses the largest burial site of unknown Confederate dead (about 2,000 in one big grave). The above picture is from the changing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from three different wars. I actually cried through part of it. It made me wish every American could see this. There's a lot about our country that is wrong, but this is something that we have done correctly for years. It was heart wrenching and touching to know that some one's son, brother, uncle, or nephew was being shown the respect that his family was unable to give. We didn't see as much of the cemetery as we'd have liked due to taking a tour bus due to the heat and exhaustion. But we saw quite a bit and it was well worth it.

4. The White House. Our scheduled tour was disappointing in that you're not allowed to take cameras. This shot was made from the War Memorials, but there were so many other shots that I would have loved to make. I'd take this "self-guided" tour again. Of course, we got to see a few glimpses others didn't due to Bobby's disability. En route to the elevator we went through two storage rooms (music stands and chairs), two kitchens, and made a brief stop at the basement kitchen (the cooks summoned the elevator to send food up for a meeting). The cooks jokingly told us to come back at 11 for lunch. My biggest surprise there was the China pattern that the Clintons had chosen during their term...it was beautiful!

5. the War Memorials. My favorite of all the war memorials was WWII. It was overwhelming, peaceful, cool, and educational. Of course, knowing that my Grandfather fought in this war and Bobby's Dad had served at the Pentagon at its close made it all the more special.

6. The Supreme Court Building. We went for one of the lectures (given when the court is not in session). It was great. Of course, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a good chunk of the marble came from Alabama!

The outside of the building is undergoing renovations. You might be able to see part of the crane in the top of the picture.
The Smithsonian History Museum was also fun, though we didn't get to see the display of the First Ladies' dresses due to the long line and a schedule appointment at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (where the money is printed). The BE&P is good for a first time visit if you're interested in that kind of thing, as is Ford's Theater (where Lincoln was assassinated).
The International Spy Museum was a little disappointing. Kids would probably love it, but for us it was almost impossible to maneuver the crowd was so tight and kids were running around unchecked (meaning they dart in front of Bobby without warning as he's moving, etc). The factual information was good, but it was hard for me to enjoy it between all the "orphans" and older people who kept loudly talking during video presentations. I guess you could say it was a great people study.
I'm thankful for those who gave me the advice to pick out what we wanted to do most and try to hit those areas, otherwise we wouldn't have seen quite so much.
And while the metro was great, due to the elevators being in different locations than the metro marks on the map, we did quite a bit of walking trying to get our bearings or find the elevators. We quickly learned they were always within a block of the escalators, but finding out which direction sometimes meant a good deal of walking. Nevertheless, we saw some really cool buildings while searching!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

the Capitol building

The Capitol Building was our first place to visit (mainly because we had a scheduled tour there!) I was in awe of the building as well as its historical significance and important to our daily lives. I left there feeling a mixture of awe and amazement at what a wonderful and blessed country we have, plus a feeling of inadequacy and "plain Jane" origin. I can't imagine what it would be like to have such an important role in our country that one could actually work there.
As for the tour, we had ours arranged through Senator Burr's office instead of the Capitol Tours group. Even though your Senator's office is also where you get a pass to tour the House and Senate Chambers, come to find out, the tour arranged with the office does not include the pass. Our tour guide was an intern who had only been in the district for two weeks. He seemed knowledgeable enough, though I wondered had we gone through the Capitol Tours how it would have been different.
The above statue is one of many we saw, but I thought this one was particularly poignant: Lady Liberty with America (the eagle) clinging to her one one side and the lack of freedom on the other. The very evils that existed then are still with us today.

A view of the main rotunda.


This is a section of the painting several layers below the dome, each scene an important historical event for America. I post it here because I found some of its background funny. The painter who had sketched and began the circular painting died before it was finished. The artist hired to complete his work did a great job, but some of his work was not the same measurements as the first painter, causing the mural to have a small gap of blank wall. After the Wright brothers flew their flight in NC, the Congress hired another artist to come in and draw the airplane and a brother to fill in the gap. Not sure why I found that so funny, but it sounded like a problem I would have.
I could talk forever about DC and what we saw, but seeing as my time is now being heavily occupied by little people for the next few weeks, I'll probably post a top ten list about my favorite places or something.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

overwhelming

Washington DC is WOW and OW! My mind was and still is totally overwhelmed with the many sights and thoughts we encountered. My feet were excessively sore every single day, and I am thankful for a very patient and understanding husband. I'll have to post my favorite and bizarre things later, but if you ever get the chance to visit DC, it is definitely a place worth seeing.