Saturday, March 31, 2012

ILO party

We had a great time tonight at the party to welcome the new International Liaison Officer from England. Since I don't find my way into too many of the photos I share here on the blog, I'm including this one that I filched from a friend's Facebook page:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Got floss?

We do:

I've been cleaning out the linen/medicine closet, and I swear, it's like we're auditioning for a shot at appearing on Hoarders.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mike: "Off we go . . . "

Congratulations to Mike for getting a Field Training slot for this summer:

The AFROTC adventure continues!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mike: Military formal

Mike and Sarah were looking mighty sharp at FSU's military formal the other night. I snagged these photos from Sarah's Facebook:

Of course, they also took time to goof off, too:

Looks like a fun evening!

(I had to switch back to the old Blogger interface to make this post happen. I'm a'skeered though, because they say that they're going to take away the old interface soon.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Annabelle: New hair!

Look who's rocking a fresh new haircut for spring!
(And I don't think I like this new Blogger interface!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

May I have this dance?

After Grandpa's funeral, most of the family got together for lunch at a local restaurant. My Aunt Julia brought along a photo album, and we had fun looking through it. Imagine my surprise when I saw this photo for the very first time (22 years after it was taken):

Thanks, Julia! It's one of my new favorites. :-)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Minnesota trip report

No sooner had Fred and I returned from my grandfather's funeral than it was time to take off again, this time to Minnesota. We left on Saturday and drove up to Minneapolis, stopping about an hour away to do drive-thru tours of St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges in Northfield. Both schools have beautiful campuses, but they very definitely are not in an "urban" setting, which--all other things being equal--Annabelle thinks she would prefer.

Saturday night we went to Mall of America for supper. It's truly an astounding place with an amusement park and other wonders inside:

I was taken with the idea of an entire store devoted to Peeps, and I don't even LIKE Peeps:

A Peep-mobile! I would so drive this car:

Let's pause for some Peep-related political humor:

Sunday morning we went out to explore Minneapolis a little bit. Here's Annabelle on the banks of Lake Harriet:

We went to the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center to meet my friend Emily for lunch:

We also took a family photo:

(That was the day that FSU was playing in the March Madness tournament, and I was trying to look like somebody who cared about basketball.)

Check out this crazy wallpaper outside the restrooms at the Walker Art Center:

We had our tour of Macalester College set for the next day, but we went over to St. Paul after lunch to find our way around and take advantage of the lovely weather (apparently highs of 80 are uncommon in Minnesota in March--who knew?):

There were students stretched out all over the place enjoying the sunshine, and one young man even had a hammock (I photographed his reflection in this window in order to be slightly less creepy):

Macalester has a very pretty campus:

It's also in a very nice part of town, with a Whole Foods within walking distance and fancy, unaffordable stores like Anthropolgie just down the street. One of F. Scott Fitzgerald's former residences is also a short distance away:

The Cathedral of St. Paul is 3.5 miles away from campus, and it is truly beautiful:

This is a mural on the wall of a shop just off-campus:

I took this picture through the window of a closed laundromat. The bear costume hanging there just cracked me up for some reason:

Monday morning we had our official Macalester visit. I had already taken most of the pictures that I wanted the previous day, but look! it's the sign for the Kofi Annan Ping Pong Table:

We had a great visit. I thought it was interesting that they took the parents and the kids on separate tours. I was so impressed by our tour guide, who was a second-year cultural anthropology major! We ate lunch in the dining facility (Cafe Mac), and the food was great. After lunch, Annabelle got to sit in on a class, which she really enjoyed. The school has a strong academic focus, but the vibe we got from the students was collaborative rather than competitive. Mac also offers a lot of great musical opportunities to include a bagpipe band!

Here's a clip I found on the Internet of the bagpipe band performing at the Winnipeg Scottish Festival earlier this year:

We were in a hurry to hit the road after Annabelle got out of class, because bad weather was coming, and we had a long drive home. I did make Fred drive around the block, however, so I could get a shot of the snow-white squirrel we saw as we were leaving St. Paul:

Annabelle and I agreed that seeing a white squirrel had to be a very good omen!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Two handsome dudes and a lot of pretty flowers

Fred and I just got back yesterday from a whirlwind trip to Florida for my grandfather's funeral. While it was a sad occasion, it was nice to have a chance to visit with my extended family. I took only 1 photo though:

In other news, spring is busting out all over up here in Kansas. I think the universe is trying to make it up to me for last winter and (lack of) spring. The tree in our front yard is looking mighty pretty:

Also, the crocuses we planted are coming up nicely, even if I did confuse 5 centimeters and 5 inches when planting them:

Here are some more pretty flowers that Annabelle and I saw while walking the dog today:

(Note: The really wide, yellow house? It's called the Rookery and is known as both the oldest and most haunted house in Kansas!)

Now we're off again tomorrow to look at colleges in Minnesota. This month I will have been in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Florida, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Musical weekend

Yesterday Fred and I took Annabelle and her friend Aimee over to K-State for Bassoon Afternoon. Basically, that's when high-school bassoonists from all over the state get together for a day of lessons and bonding, culminating in a little performance at the end of the day. Here's the entire group, including their K-State teachers:

And here are the Leavenworth bassoons:

For the performance at the end of the day, each group is assigned a new-to-them piece that they work up in just a few hours. Annabelle's group played "Gavotte in G Major":

And the whole group got together to play "Wildcat Victory March" for a finale:

But the music wasn't over yet! That night the chamber choir from St. Benedict and St. John's colleges in Minnesota was performing in Leavenworth as part of their spring break tour, and we had agree to host a couple of the girls overnight.

Their concert was amazing! Here's a sample:

We had such fun afterwards bringing 2 of the girls home for an overnight and hearing all about their tour. Too bad they had to be back at the bus at 6:45 a.m. today! Not an easy time under any conditions, let alone the day after the dreaded springing forward. Needless to say, there was a substantial nap in my future after that!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Sad news (again)

Last May, my grandmother died on my grandfather's birthday; today, he died on hers. My grandparents divorced many years ago and went on to find new love and happiness. I'm grateful to them both for adding to our family a lot of wonderful people we wouldn't have otherwise known. Funny how life works out, isn't it?

Here are a couple of pictures from January 2005 when we visited with Grandpa and Teresa in Tampa while Fred was deployed to Iraq. This was just after the Great Unicycle Christmas:

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Colorado trip report (Saturday)

One nice thing about traveling west is that you can sleep in, and it still looks like you're getting up early. We slept like logs and then got up and had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before setting off on the next leg of our adventure.

We drove south through adorable Breckenridge:

Then we continued on across the Hoosier Pass. Road conditions were less than optimal:

What was scary on the way up became utterly terrifying for the trip down. Oh, look, a guardrail! Novel idea. Wish I had seen a few more of these:

Once we were out of the mountains, we took the opportunity to really admire the scenery:

That didn't last long though, because the same wind that did THIS to Sarah's hair:

was also blowing snow all over the road leading to white-out conditions at times:

As we got closer to Colorado Springs, we stopped at a rest area to look back on where we had come from:

We stopped for lunch in Manitou Springs and then drove through Garden of the Gods:

After our white-knuckle journey across the Hoosier Pass earlier in the day, our enthusiasm for Pike's Peak was sorely lacking, so we just admired it from a distance:

When we got to Colorado Springs, we made a quick trip up to the Air Force Academy:

Here's the academy chapel:

From there we drove over to the Olympic Training Center. We were too late for the last tour of the day, so we just showed ourselves around for a bit:

All in all, it was a great first taste of Colorado. Can't wait to go back!