22 June 2009

Piano Recital

The end of the school year means piano recital time. It's a time for the students to show off what they've learned, and hopefully help them get over their nervousness at performing in front of an audience. I've also added a picture from last year's recital, to show the stark contrast in the number of students I have this year compared to last year.
2009 2008Last year the recital was held at a chapel on the army post, but this year I was able to have it in the piano teaching room I have set up in our daylight basement. We pushed the furniture to the sides and brought over 25 chairs from the church, so it looked pretty official.
I tried inserting a picture of the piano keyboard cake I make for refreshments for the spring recital every year, but for some reason it wouldn't copy into the blog. This year I tried something new, and I think these sugar cookies turned out pretty cute. They were tasty, too!
I wish I'd asked Kent to take pictures of the students playing, and one of the audience, but I didn't, so I don't have any photos of that.
Two days before the recital I decided I should play something, so I dusted off my Pachelbel's Canon in D. It wasn't the most showy or difficult piece I could have played, but the music is so lovely, it's a pleasure to listen to, and I think that's more important than showing off.
We had refreshments outside on our new brick patio. Fortunately, it wasn't raining, which is saying something around here this year!

Memorial Day

My (Elaine's) mom came to visit over the Memorial Day weekend, so we took her to see a few sights. Just by chance on the Saturday evening before Memorial day we took her to the Union cemetery in Fredericksburg, since it's closer than going into DC. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that we happened to visit on the night that the Boy Scouts in the area had lit luminaries on all of the 15,000 graves in the cemetery. These pictures in no way adequately show how breathtakingly lovely it was.
Park rangers were giving tours throughout the cemetery, so we went to five or six different locations in the cemetery to learn some of the history. Only Union soldiers are buried in this cemetery. There's a Confederate cemetery in a different part of Fredericksburg.

We also toured the Ines home, one of the few remaining buildings that was in the area during the Civil War battle of Fredericksburg. It's only open to the public twice a year. Those are bullet holes still visible from the battle.
On Sunday after church we drove for about an hour out to Westmoreland County, Virginia, which is where George Washington was born. We had a picnic at a national park along the banks of the Potomac River.
No Memorial Day blog would be complete without a few pictures from Kent's workplace, Arlington National Cemetery. During Memorial day weekend, American flags were placed on all of the graves at the cemetery.
This section with all the flowers and balloons is from the section where the most recent burials have taken place. Most are casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan.

These pictures are from the World War II Memorial in the evening. I really liked how you could see Lincoln's statue illuminated in the background of this last photo.
One of the advantages of living here are the wonderful patriotic and historical opportunities available--there's always something cool to see and do in DC or Virginia!
We appreciate all who have served our country to keep our country free and honor them all year round, not just on Memorial Day and Veteran's day.

14 June 2009

Chillin' in the Caribbean.. Part "dos"

The next day we headed for El Yunque, the rain forest. It rained a lot there which created lots of waterfalls for us to enjoy.

The day after that we toured a nature preserve, which included a mangrove swamp and a light house.

The last day was spent sunning (or burning) on the beach, and snorkeling in the bay.

And one last trip to the rain forest, to swim in a waterfall - or the base of it anyway.

It was a very fun, interesting, yet a relaxing vacation with lots of snoozing time.

05 June 2009

Chillin' in the Caribbean--Part "Uno"

Kent and I wanted to take a vacation with Garrett and Tyler, so I did some research and decided on a week in Puerto Rico. We've lived overseas for so many years that we've not been south of the USA. Kent and I had a direct flight from DC and arrived Saturday night. Garrett came from Seattle, where he attended his friend's wedding in the Seattle Temple. Tyler came from Salt Lake City, since he's staying in Provo, working at BYU as a Conference Assistant. I found a two-bedroom vacation apartment that we rented for the week. Isn't this a fabulous shot of Kent and Tyler on the deck? Kent turned 53 our second night there, so we had the usual celebration. I'd brought the ingredients and aluminum pans in my suitcase to bake his birthday cake. The next evening we headed out to go kayaking in a bio-luminescent bay that "glowed in the dark" when the water is agitates. Caused by dino-flagelattes or something like that..... (go google it.) We felt very "Raiders of the Lost Ark"ish as we kayaked at night through the jungle.

It was hard to get a good shot in a moving kayak at night, so these aren't the best.

Our fourth day we went to Old Town San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. It very much had the feel of a 500 year old European City - which of course it is, except it is not in Europe.

The old Castle - was never lost by the Spanish over 400 years, until the US took it in the Spanish-American war. The fortifications were quite extensive.

Stay tuned for the wet, wild and wilderness of the rest of our Puerto Rican vacation.....