"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Number 28: Go camping

 First, I went camping for 2 nights in the Smoky Mountains with my good friend Christy and the synchronized fireflies.  We watched a mountain light show provided by nature, we spent a day at Dollyworld, and we helped a man who had had a heart attack trying to run from a bear.

Then, I went camping for 2 nights in Vermont with my good friends Chris and Erin and a couple of dogs.  We hit a dog on the way in, nearly got knocked over by a hideaway chipmunk, ate gourmet dinners cooked over the fire, went on a hike during which I confessed to not owning a backpack, and played some cards.

Then, I spent 7 nights camping from one end of Michigan to the other with my good friend, Angie, and my brother, Avery.  We played a few games of beach volleyball, rode (and crashed) 4-wheelers on the dunes, ate lots of ice cream, got really tan, enjoyed local food/drink, saw an amphibious car, did some "hiking", climbed the sleeping bear dune, built a tent city to hang out in the rain, rode a horse carriage around a non-motorized city, and lived it up at a wedding.

Good times and a total of 11 nights in a tent!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Life

I had the joyful pleasure of being present for the birth of my friend Kassia's new baby boy on the morning of Tuesday July 17th.  This picture was the very first glimpse of Baby Julian that we got as he came into the nursery.  I stood with his grandparents looking in while his Daddy and the nurses did all of the standard new born stuff.  We couldn't hear much through the thick glass window, but we did hear the nurse tell his Daddy that he was perfect!!!  I couldn't agree more.  He is perfectly adorable and looks just like his Daddy.  Welcome to the world, Julian!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Special Moment

Making the decision not to go visit my grandmother before she died or attend her funeral was one of the most difficult decisions of my life.  I agonized over it for a long time.  It broke my heart.  In the end, I decided that it was better for everyone if I just stayed away because the situation so heavily involved my mother.  

 I visited my grandmother's grave site while passing through Ohio.  It was a clear, sunny day as I drove toward the little cemetery in the middle of the country in NW Ohio, but as I approached a big, dark cloud rolled over.  It rained heavily for about 10 minutes just as I was arriving at the cemetery.  After all of those heavenly tears were shed, a big gorgeous rainbow came out and shined down on me while I said and spent time talking to my Nan.  That rainbow really meant alot to me.  Thanks, Nan.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lip Dub with the Woodduck Court kids

This song has followed me around all summer.  When we found out that Carly Ray Jepsen was performing at Cedar Point and that the Cedar Point crew had done a lip dub video to publicize the event, the kids of the neighborhood decided to do one of their own with my help.  I think it turned out pretty good for being the first time I've ever done one.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Freedom Trail

 Spent a weekend in Boston.  It just happened to be the same weekend as the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the weekend before Independence Day.  We didnt plan it that way, but it was an interesting weekend to be there with lots of events happening and lots of people in town.
 We saw the graveyard were Paul Revere and other famous people are buried, including 3 signers of the Declaration of Independence, all 5 Boston Massacre victims, Mother Goose, and George Washington's parents.
 We walked under the patio from which the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston and where the Boston Massacre took place.
 We took the water ferry over to Charlestown because the Tall Ships were in town to celebrate the War of 1812.  We saw the USS Constitution among other ships.
 From there, we continued following the Freedom Trail over to Bunker Hill Monument.  We took a break and laid on the lawn under the towering obelisk.
 The quaint little side streets were picturesque and my body was sore from all the walking around the city on the concrete.
 We had dinner at a sea side crab shack because Erin was compelled to "beat some crab".  We had to wait hours for a table, but we had a great view of the city and dinner was delicious.

The next day, I did a free audio tour of the bay that I downloaded from the Boston Tourism website.
 I enjoyed spending the day seeing some more of Boston on my own.
 There were a few tall ships out in the harbor firing cannons at each other as part of a reenactment of the war of 1812.
I really enjoyed spending part of my summer on the east coast.  I visited many places that I've never been before.  My Boston trip ended with a Norah Jones concert at the Boston Pavillion. 
She put on a great show and the venue was very enjoyable.  It was the perfect end to my visit to the east coast.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A surprise treasure

 While visiting Erin and Chris in Vermont, we visited the Shelburne museum just south of Burlington.  It is a huge museum with an amazing collection of all kinds of things and beautiful grounds.  Here's an excerpt from the website...Shelburne Museum is one of the finest, most diverse, and unconventional museums of art and Americana. Over 150,000 works are exhibited in a remarkable setting of 39 exhibition buildings, 25 of which are historic and were relocated to the Museum grounds.
Impressionist paintings, folk art, quilts and textiles, decorative arts, furniture, American paintings, and a dazzling array of 17th-to 20th-century artifacts are on view. Shelburne is home to the finest museum collections of 19th-century American folk art, quilts, 19th- and 20th-century decoys, and carriages.
 They had several interesting temporary exhibits including the history of snowmachines; robots, rockets,  and steampunk; metal elephants sculptures, vermont rifles of the 20th century, and miniature ivory paintings of fictional creatures which we almost passed up.
 Many of the buildings on the property were original and many others were moved to the property later on.  From the website...The 39 galleries, historic houses, and community buildings that house the Museum’s collections are themselves a collection spanning 300 years of architecture. They include houses, barns, a lighthouse, a schoolhouse, a jailhouse, a general store, and the National Historic Landmark steamboat Ticonderoga.
 We really enjoyed walking the grounds and each other's company in addition to all of the exhibits.  The old modes of transportation were very interesting, including a barn full of carriages, an old side wheel steamboat, and the train depot which is still set up exactly how it was in 1953.  Standing in those places, you could really imagine what life might have been like in the early 1900's.
At nearly every stop in the museum, we were taken by surprise by the hidden gems in this low key, unpretentious museum.  In the memorial house of Electra Havenmayer Webb, the founder of the museum, there were multiple pieces of fine art including several Monet's, Manet's, Degas', and pieces by Tiffany Co. 
 Thankfully the admission ticket allows entrance to the museum for two consecutive days because we spent 2 days at the museum and still did not get a chance to see it all.  I would definitely go back for another visit if I get the chance.

The Ultimate Vacation Activity

No vacation is complete without spending some time doing what you can't do at home....jumping on the bed!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Number 12: Explore the water

Only a few days into my summer, I had the opportunity to try out a new (to me) water sport.  Paddleboarding!  First a random kind person let me try his, then a few days later I got to try it again when Christy's friends let us borrow theirs.  It took only a few minutest standing their to get used to it. After that, it was pretty easy.  Paddled all the way to the other side of the lake and back which helped get my tan on track for the summer.

A few weeks later, I was visiting friends in Ohio for the 4th of July.  We spent the day out on Lake Erie and went tubing.  It was a good time and the water was cool and refreshing.

 Then my friend, Lisa, and I went canoeing on Indian Lake.  Definitely helped me get rid of my Alaska tan once and for all.
Not long after that, we visited a water park in Indiana.  Between all of these activities and a 10 day camping trip up the coast of Michigan, I have definitely spent my fair share of days in the water this summer.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Historic Philly

 On my way from NC to VT, I stopped to visit my friend Tammy in Philadelphia.  We spent a day wandering around historic downtown Philadelphia.  We got to see the Liberty bell.
Independence Hall was closed for restoration, but we were able to see the original location of the congress and senate.
 We saw the very last edit of the Declaration of Independence which I believe was done by John Adams.  We learned that the Declaration was not actually signed until Aug. 4th, 1776 and the the original version of the document does not actually exist, but that the documents that we view on display in museums and archives are copies that were made and distributed.
We also visited the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary Soldier in Washington Square.  It was inspiring and eerie to stand on top of this mass grave in which thousands of people are buried, soldier and civilian alike. 
 The grounds were very well kept.  History is much more interesting when you are standing in the place where it the events took place.  There were a few times that I got goosebumps just knowing that I was standing in the footsteps of the founders of our country!