Friday, June 30, 2017

Garden Cucumbers and Tomatoes

We used to have a large vegetable garden in the Midwest. Since we moved to DC almost eleven years ago, we now have a small patio garden with enough space to grow a few vegetables. My husband really likes tomatoes; I prefer the cucumbers. But together, they are wonderful. Unfortunately over the last few years the weather has been too hot for any decent tomato crop. We always go with two different kinds of plants hoping that one will make it through. This season, there is some promise that we may get at least three tomatoes on the larger plant. The smaller one hardly has any flowers and is just taking up space. The cucumbers used to crawl around and hide everywhere. But now we are smarter and have the vines grow on a makeshift trellis attached to the fence. We are rarely disappointed and it looks as though it will be the same. There are already many flowers and tiny cucumbers already growing - the bees have been busy on that side of the garden. So time will tell. I did spray the plants with a fungicide just in case. There is nothing better than a fresh vegetable out of the garden - especially when it is one of your own.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Comcast Xfinity Modem Switch

Whenever we get any notification from Comcast it usually is disturbing and means a lot of wasted time. We got an email that the equipment we ordered was on the way. The trouble is, we didn't order any equipment. Shortly thereafter, we got a letter in the mail that said our wireless gateway had a technical issue identified by the manufacturer - which meant it needed to be swapped out and returned. And this switch had to be done by July 11 or we could lose all internet access. I was dreading this usually time consuming matter, and waited another day to built up my confidence. So when we opened the box, it looked daunting. But luckily we weren't installing equipment for the first time, so it only required removing the existing connections from the old modem and simply attaching them back to the new modem in the same locations. We also downloaded an app that walked us through the process, and we easily connected back to wifi automatically as the app used the same name and password, so I didn't have to reconfigure all of our equipment, printer, and laptop. When it was all said and done, we put the old equipment back in the box that the new equipment came in, added the prepaid return sticker, and walked it down to the UPS Store on Pennsylvania Avenue this morning rather than drive it back to the Comcast store. I'll keep the receipt because we are supposed to get a $10 discount for the inconvenience of it all. While I hate dealing with this sort of thing, it was one of the easiest issues to fix. Things have changed a lot over the last ten years since we first moved to DC. Hopefully the nightmares will end all together.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We've Seen All 48 States

Last year my husband and I took a road trip from DC to LA and back. The goal was to see all the states in the southwest and middle America that we had not been in before. Those primarily included Utah and New Mexico. This month, we decided we would visit the rest of the lower 48 states by driving to the great Pacific Northwest from DC and back. We had never been out that way, and saw Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington State, Montana, and North Dakota for the first time. When we lived in the Midwest, we made many road trips to the east coast and to Florida, and to Texas with a guest from France that took us right through the heart of the country. Even now we travel to Florida regularly to visit my mom. We know Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia very well. So we have now visited all of the 48 states and have no desire to go to Hawaii or Alaska. We figure Florida and Wisconsin serve the same purpose! We enjoyed every minute of it because the journey is always more important than the destination. And it sure is a lot easier to travel these days than in years past. It all started when my family first moved to Florida from New England when I was six years old. And every place has its own unique character. It's a delightful way to experience the country.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Boothill Cemetery in Billings Montana

Of all the states we visited on our cross country trip to the great Pacific Northwest this month, Montana and North Dakota lead the pack for the most unimpressive. They were just so desolate. I can only imagine how they are during the winter months. What saves North Dakota is the movie Fargo's woodchipper at the visitor center. The Dumas House of prostitution in Butte helped Montana, but the Missoula hotel wasn't so great. When we arrived in Billings, we had an opportunity to drive around a bit and visited the painted caves, which were a bust for us. But before that, we found Boothill Cemetery. I thought it had major significance until I saw that there is a Boothill cemetery in about every state. The only noteworthy inhabitant in this one is the person who communicated the demise of Custer at Little Big Horn, only to be killed trying to save the wife from her husband during a domestic argument. But we looked around anyway. There were several poor souls buried there - many unaccounted for. It's in the middle of a very busy intersection and hardly seems an appropriate place for something like this. It is a reminder of the difficult times for all the people who came before us. Luckily things have improved; but some things don't change.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids Michigan

It's hard to believe that last week at this time we were taking the Lake Express Ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon on Lake Michigan. We did that to avoid Chicago traffic coming back home to DC, but also to take a side trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. On the way out on our roadtrip to the Pacific Northwest, we stopped in Iowa to see Herbert Hoover's place. Last year we stopped by Eisenhower's in Kansas, Nixon's in California, and Clinton's in Arkansas. Before that we had already seen Kennedy in Massachusetts, Truman in Missouri, and Roosevelt in New York. If our goal is to see all of the 13 museums, this would be a great opportunity because we probably wouldn't be coming this way again. The museum is very pretty, and what made it even more interesting was that a US citizen naturalization ceremony was going to take place. There were a lot of very enthusiastic folks milling about. This museum was not as elaborate as the others we have seen, but it was good to be there all the same. When we first moved to DC ten years ago, we attended Ford's lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda. We are now planning a trip to Texas to visit Johnson, Bush and Bush. And one of these trips to Florida we will stop in Atlanta to see Carter. As for Reagan in Simi Valley? We missed our chance last year. Otherwise, that about wraps it up, and a good excuse for another roadtrip!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Camp Miniwanca near Muskegon Michigan

When we took the Lake Express Ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon, Michigan we hadn't planned on taking one additional side trip. Before we boarded the boat in Milwaukee, we rode around our old neighborhood and sent a photo to our son of his best friend's house. One thing lead to another, and he asked if we would be stopping by Camp Miniwanca when we reached the other side. I checked the map to see if it was near our landing point and it was. The reason he was interested was because for about three years running, he spent a few weeks each summer at Camp Miniwanca. I think he learned a lot about everything there, even though he wouldn't really admit it. But the fact that he asked if we were passing by meant something. So after we disembarked from the Ferry in Muskegon, we drove over to the camp. It didn't look very familiar - after all, it's been over thirty years. And back then, we drove through Chicago and up to Michigan to get there. It was too early in June for the camp to be open, but we drove around and took several photos and sent them to him and his wife. She was thrilled to see them because she had heard so much about the place. It so happens our grandson was just sent for three weeks to Colorado for his second Outward Bound excursion. Though it is not Camp Miniwanca, the idea is the same. I think the experience was quite memorable all around.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

MIlwaukee Lake Express Ferry to Michigan

We lived in Milwaukee for thirty years. We used to see the Lake Express Ferry take off from the port on Lincoln Memorial Drive all the time when we were crossing the Hoan Bridge. But we never took it ourselves. So on the way home from our roadtrip to the great Northwest, we decided it might be a good time to try it. We didn't want to drive through Chicago, and we also wanted to see the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We got our tickets for the car and ourselves on line a few days earlier for the 12:30 excursion. The 6 AM ride would have been much too early! We drove around the old neighborhood in South Milwaukee for a little while before reaching the terminal. My husband drove the car on board at the designated time and I met him up in the cabin. It was quite cold and very windy on the deck - typical for a Milwaukee June, but even worse on the cold Lake Michigan. It was rainy and cloudy for the entire two and a half hour ride over to Muskegon. It felt like winter when we went back on the deck to observe the landing. We were both glad it was over when we got in the car to disembark. It was a great opportunity for this watery diversion, but we probably would have enjoyed it more at the beginning of the trip rather than at the end of it. I think we would still prefer driving - only because we would have more control over the timing of when to start and stop. I can't believe I'm my dad's daughter. He was in the Coast Guard for twenty one years with many of those years on ships all over the world and during WWII. I think I like being on land more.