Saturday, August 23, 2008

More DC Memories

Cam and I have both written about the trip our family took a trip to Washington D.C. in early June but I wanted to share a few more memories and my favorite photos from our time in DC.

On the way there, each of us was excited about taking our first Virgin America flight. I enjoyed choosing which music videos to watch and being able to order food from a menu. The cheese and fruit plate became a fast favorite.

After landing, we took a cab to the Historic Omni Shoreham hotel where the National CASA Conference was being held and where we would be staying.

Just blocks away, on Connecticut Avenue, we were excited to find three different India restaurants.

That first night, we relaxed and enjoyed the pleasantly warm weather while sitting outside and sampling the vegetarian offerings at Little India.

After dinner, intrigued by the lions and light poles on the nearby Taft Bridge, I talked Sam and Cam into walking across it to see what we could see. (Lion photo credit)

(I love walking across bridges.)

On the other side, (bridge photo credit) we ended up on Embassy Row where we watched party goers arrive for an elaborate formal event at the French Ambassador's Residence.

It appears that the event was the Washington National Opera's Annual Opera Ball tickets were $1,000 per person. We did not have a ticket but enjoyed the musicians performing outside and the greeters in their dresses woven with lights. (photo credit)

I'll write about the next day, the day the three of us spent exploring, soon. If you haven't already seen it, here is a small Flickr set of photos of us getting to DC.

"When you get to the top of the mountain, remember me."

While all the buzz, this morning, is about Barack Obama selecting Joe Biden to be his running mate, (Cam thinks this is a solid choice and since he's the one who first told me about Barack, that's enough for now.) what I want to talk about is a group I just joined called Rural Americans for Barack Obama.

Obama is reaching out to Rural America. I appreciate him coming up with a plan to bring hope to those of us from there. I'd rather be hopeful than bitter.

In Dave Stewart's, "This is My American Prayer," Forest Whitaker, Cyndi Lauper, Macy Gray and others sing "When you get to the top of the mountain, remember me."

If you want to show those in Rural America you remember them, join Rural Americans for Obama.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bowling Buddies

Since Sam's will have his first day of 6th grade this week, I thought it was time to get this photo and story posted.

On his last day of 5th grade, Sam's class went bowling. I was there too. He had fun with this group of friends and remembers wining, by one point, with a score of 97.

We've had a wonderful summer. It went too quickly; although, I'm sure fun memories await.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Series of Giant's Games

In May, Cameron took Sam to see Greg Maddux pitch at Giant's stadium.

Cam found seats right next to the Padre's dugout.

It sounds like they had a blast.

Here are the pictures to prove it.

A day or two later, Sam's 5th grade class was scheduled to go to a Giant's day game for a field trip. That morning, there was a principal's assembly, where Sam was recognized for his positive attitude. Afterwards, on our way to the car and into the city, Cam and I got a call from Sam's teacher. She said one of the parents who was supposed to drive and help chaperon had canceled. Could one of us come to the Giant's game in her place? I had to be in court but Cameron decided he could meet them there that afternoon. What a dedicated parent. Here is a link to this photo of Sam and Leo at that game.

On the first of July, the night before Sam headed to the Midwest for time with family there, Cam took us to the Cubs vs. Giant's game. Ram came too. They were rambunctious. We had fun. Here are some silly photos of us from that night.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Birthday Bonfire at Muir Beach

As it says on his blog, On his 11th birthday, Sam went kayaking in Birch Bay, Washin-
gton. The following day, he tandem-paraglided down Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. While those were remarkable experiences, he didn't get to celebrate with his friends from school.

So, last night, we hosted a birthday bonfire celebrate at Muir Beach. Ten 11-year-old boys were in attendance.

We'd planned a hike to Pirate's Cove, as the beach is usually foggy and cool this time of year. However; yesterday, the consensus was that it was a fun day to go for a swim whether you had swim gear and dry clothes or not.

When they boys first got wet, I was worried about what would happen when the fun stopped and they were cold. Thankfully, the fun never stopped. There was no complaining which I greatly appreciate.

Thanks to Todd and Spencer for joining us. We also greatly appreciate Forouz and Mohamed who drove a carload of boys home. Thanks to Linda who was going to drive and to the rest of you for being able to pick your boys up from the Cove a little early.

Please enjoy this Flickr set of photos from the party. In our eyes, it was a huge success. We hope you agree and look forward to taking that hike to Pirate's Cove another day.

Dispatch deserves their own post.

This morning, there was a comment from Brian Vander Ark's new record label, Second Motion Records out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on my blog. They commented on my post of rantings about some of my favorite music, thanking me for helping promote BVA.

While rereading that post, I realized I hadn't posted a link to the Dispatch song, Elias. I wanted to share it with you. So, I searched this morning and liked the video I found so much that I think it (and the story behind it) deserves its own blog post.

As I understand it, Elias is a man from Zimbabwe who Chad Urmston, a member of Dispatch, met when he lived in the country in 1994.

I'm told the first 3 verses are in sung in Shona, a language spoken in Zimbabwe. The first part deals with friendship and means that when you're feeling bereft of hope, don't be afraid to lean on your friends to get you through.

The second part is a typical greeting in Zimbabwe which asks, "Are you strong?" The reply is, "I am strong if you are strong." And then the greater replies, "I am strong."

Knowing Elias, along with his wife, Servi and their sons Honest, and Manuel had a strong impact on Urmston. This song and the Elias Foundation are just two results of their inspiration.

Today, I also found the website for the Dispatch Foundation, whose mission is: To empower people everywhere. To build communities. To reach people in places like Zimbabwe where the world needs to respond. Because everyone should have a song in their lives.

After watching a video where the band asked me to Join Zimbabwe's Song, I responded by adding my name to a letter, signing a petition and now I'm telling a friend.

Will you Join Zimbabwe's Song?

All this inspiration was found thanks to Second Motion Records's comment on my blog. I look forward to catching up on Brian Vander Ark's latest music and checking out Athenaeum and Gemma Hayes, two artists on their label they said I would surely like based on my musical taste. Who knows, maybe soon I'll be writing about the way they have inspired me too.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Better prepared.

Late, last October, Cam and I had our first real earthquake exper-
ience. Oddly, we were signed up to go to an earthquake preparedness class that weekend. After the class, we took some steps to try to be more ready.

At the end of Sam's fifth grade year, his class went through an earthquake preparedness class too. Making sure his family was ready became part of Sam's homework. That time, we stocked up on the requisite water, a first aide kit, some canned tuna and fruit cocktail.

Thankfully, my brother and sister-in-law in LA are fine after the recent 5.4 quake. I'm not sure we can ever really prepare for "the big one" but at least we are one step closer.