30 June 2015

What We did on our Summer Vacation Part One--Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas

DAY ONE:  We headed out the end of June on a cross country trip, driving our 15-year-old Honda minivan. It was pouring down rain as we drove from Virginia to Pennsylvania, but amazingly enough, it stopped when we got out to see the Flight 93 Memorial. 
 The visitor's center isn't complete, so we walked around outside and read the sign boards with information.
 This wall is part of the memorial. I believe it follows the path of where the plane crashed.
Not far from the flight 93 Memorial is the Johnstown Flood Memorial. As we were driving Kent and I were listening to the book on CD that David McCullough wrote about the Johnstown flood, which happened in 1889 and killed over 2,000 people. The flood was caused by heavy rains which led to the breaking of a dam many miles away from Johnstown.
 This is the stone bridge in Johnstown that stopped the mountain of debris that was raging down the river during the flood. It was very interesting for Kent and me to see the places McCullough mentioned in his book.
DAY TWO: We'd spent the night in Columbus, Ohio. Our first stop on day two was at the Aviation Heritage park in Dayton, Ohio.
 We walked through the Wright brothers cycle shop and learned many interesting facts about the Wright brothers and their experiments in flight.
Our next stop was in Indianapolis, Indiana, where we stopped to look at the brand new temple that was going to have it's open house during the month of July.
We drove through Indiana to Springfield, Illinois, and arrived in the afternoon.
We went to the Lincoln Home visitor's center, but it was too late to take a tour of  Lincoln's home. Instead we looked at the outside of his home and the surrounding neighborhood.
 We decided to see Lincoln's tomb, which is a state park, not a national one.
It's quite an impressive landmark.
 Pres. Lincoln's nose is shiny because people rub it for good luck.
 We were able to go into the monument to see Lincoln's actual tomb just minutes before it was closing for the evening.

We then left Springfield and drove down to Saint Louis, Missouri. The picture below is pretty fuzzy because I took it as we were driving over a bridge to get into the city. You can tell it was a cloudy night. There were severe thunderstorms later in the evening, and a tornado warning in the city after we checked into our hotel there.
 DAY THREE: It was a beautiful clear morning, and we were up bright and early to go to the city center. Until this trip I didn't know that the St. Louis Arch is officially called the Gateway Arch, and is a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
 The arch was opened in 1965, so this is the 50th anniversary of the arch.
We had reservations to ride to the top of the arch, which I didn't know was an option until I started planning this trip! Here's Kent waiting in line to go up to the top.
 We rode to the top in little pods that seated four people. It was reminiscent of a theme park ride.
 Up at the top you can get out and look out the windows at the view.
 One of the views was of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium.
 On the other side we could see the Mississippi River, which was overflowing it's banks in some places.
We thought this was a pretty good view of Saint Louis.
We had a bit more time to spend in St. Louis, so we toured the Scott Joplin House. I've played music by Scott Joplin since I was a teenager, so I liked seeing his home.
 Kent and I were the only ones in the museum, so we had a private tour. Afterwards they let me pump a player piano with one of Scott Joplin's ragtime songs on the roll. It was a good workout for my legs!
 DAY FOUR:  We'd spent the night in Topeka, Kansas, and were driving on Interstate 70 through the state of Kansas when I noticed that we'd be driving right by Abilene, which is the home of Dwight Eisenhower's Presidential Library and Museum.
 We stopped in at the visitor's center and watched the film about his life, then walked around the property.
 There was a chapel on the grounds where Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower are buried. It was a nice stop on our long day of driving through Kansas on our way to Fountain, Colorado, to have a family reunion with all of our kids and grandchildren.

20 June 2015

End of School Piano Recital

This year's end of school recital was on June 12th at the church. I usually do a black and white with an accent color scheme, but this year I had fun with a brown and coral color scheme.
The week before the recital I wrote each of the students a handwritten note, encouraging them to do their best. Included was a cookie, which was their favorite part, I'm sure.
Here are the cookies. I rolled out sugar cookies into rectangles, frosted them with white frosting and used sections of Hershey bars as the black keys. It was easy and tasted yummy.
I did something similar with cupcakes I made for refreshments at the recital. I had to cut the Hershey squares into smaller pieces to use as the black keys on the top.
I have lots of peach colored paper lanterns, so I had Kent put up a string across from one side of the cultural hall to the other and hung the lanterns and a pennant banner along it.
Here's the side view. I use the screen to show pictures of the piano students from previous recitals, and also list the song, with an illustration, they're playing.
View of the front of the room.
Playing duets with two of my youngest students in this photo and the one below.

The whole group together. They are such a good group of kids.
I like to get a picture with Kent since he also wears his recital finery. I wore the coral and brown to match my color scheme, and had a lovely new music notes scarf to wear, that the Stinsons gave me. I think it was supposed to be a birthday present, but I was happy to get it early so I could wear it at my recital!

19 June 2015

Another Trip to the Big Apple

I took a two-day trip to New York City with two friends on June 17th and 18th. We took the DC to NYC bus that left Virginia at 8am and dropped us off at Times Square in NYC at around 1:30pm. We were able to walk to the Residence Inn we were staying at and they let us check in early, so we dropped off our luggage.

The first thing we did in NYC was get on the subway down to lower Manhattan to take the Staten Island Ferry. We mostly wanted to ride the ferry (it's free) to get some good views from the deck of the ship. 
 We had a great view of the Statue of Liberty,
 and of the Manhattan skyline, including the new World Trade Center. We took the ferry to Staten Island and came right back on the return ferry.
 That evening we had tickets to see the Tony award winning play, "The King and I". The Manhattan LDS Temple is across the street from the Lincoln Center, where the play was being performed. I kind of like the yellow taxi cabs in the background, to show how the temple is right downtown.
 We handed our camera to a lady hoping she'd get the words "Lincoln Center Theater" behind us, but instead she got our knees and cut off the sign that we wanted to have in the picture. Sigh.
 The performance, sets, costumes and staging was fantastic. It was a delightful show, and reminded me of the year the kids and I were in the summer theater production of "The King and I" back in 1993. I hummed along with most of the songs.
The next morning after the most impressive buffet breakfast I've ever seen at a Residence Inn, headed out to see a few more sights.We saw the Chrysler building,
 and walked through the New York Public Library on our way to

Grand Central Station.
 Where we caught the subway to go to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was on my New York City bucket list, and I couldn't fit it in when I went last December, so it was at the top of my list (after seeing the play) for this trip.
 Here's the view of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Our next stop was Wall Street. Where we saw the New York Stock Exchange,
and Federal Hall. Erected on the spot where George Washington took the oath of office
 in 1789 to become the first president of the United States. It's run by the National Park service, so I got a stamp in my National Parks passport.
At the end of Wall Street was the bull statue I've seen in movies. It's smaller in real life.
 I had to take a picture of all the people around it, because we had to wait our turn to get a photo.

I took it a bit easy and scaled back some of our plans to see things because my legs looked like this.
This is a new development that happens when I stand on my legs for too long (I've discovered two hours is about my maximum). The blood vessels in my legs seem to not be able to get the blood back up and instead pools in my legs. That's my self diagnosis.

I went to the doctor after I returned from New York, but she thought it might be an allergic reaction to the blood pressure medicine I take. It's happened to me several times before, but never to this extreme. It looks like a rash, but it isn't. It's under the skin, not on the skin. I wore some compression ankle-to-knee stockings, and I think they helped.