Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Arlington House and cemetery

Arlington House ~ The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Arlington House was built by George Washington Parke Custis and his slaves between 1802 and 1818. His daughter, Mary Custis, great-granddaughter of First Lady Martha Washington, married Robert E. Lee. The Lees inherited Arlington House when her father passed away. Arlington House has a long, interesting history ~ it’s been a home for the Lee Family and Custis Families, a plantation estate and home to 63 slaves, a monument honoring George Washington, a military headquarters, a community for emancipated slaves and is currently a National Cemetery.

Arlington Tomb sign

Alrington Single cross
Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Guard
Old Guard Soldier at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

We stayed for the changing of the guard ceremony which takes place on the hour (Oct-March) and every half hour (April -Sept). Note: the ceremony may seem “over” but don’t start talking until you leave the site of the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.” We were “shusshed” for whispering after the ceremony. I cringe at that as I would never want to be disrespectful in such a place of honor.

Arlington Eternal Flame
Eternal Flame at the John F. Kennedy gravesite

Arlington Amphitheater
Arlington Amphitheater

Arlington Women's Memorial
Quote at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington Cemetery

Arlington House Sideview

Gravestone of George W. George ~ I tried to find more information about him but there wasn’t much on the internet. One of the fascinating things about Arlington Cemetery is all the famous people buried there. It reminded me of when I went through the National Portrait Gallery in London. I wanted to look up the stories of all the names I saw. I’m sure there’s an interesting life story behind all of those graves.

Arlington L'Enfant site

Burial site of Pierre L’Enfant, a French-born American civil engineer who designed the streets of Washington DC in the late 1700s. His grave has sweeping views of Washington DC ~ including the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol.

Arlington Cemetery
The family photo at Arlington Cemetery

If you visit Arlington Cemetery, check out their site here. The cemetery is open 7 Days a week, 365 days a year. The hours are 8am – 7pm (April – September) and 8am – 5pm (October – March). The parking garage closes 1 hour after cemetery. From the Arlington, it’s an easy walk over the Memorial Bridge to the Mall and the monuments.

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One of my New Years resolutions is to dust off my Flashback Friday updates.  There was a lot of dust to clear since I haven’t done a Flashback Friday since 2009!  As I was catching up with friends currently living in Germany, we discussed all the wonderful places to visit in Europe. I highly recommended they visit Mariánské Lázně and Karlovy Lázně which are two Czech spa towns within an easy drive from Grafenwöhr. Mariánské Lázně is only a 40 minute drive. Both towns are also a wonderful day trip from Prague.  Please forgive my photos in this post, they’re from the early 2000s and before I got a digital camera. All these photos are (gasp) scanned.

Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad) is truly beautiful any time of year but springtime is my favorite. There are several parks with pretty flowers which I enjoyed strolling through and letting Logan run around. The main Colonnade is a cast iron construction with a wooden ceiling and a Singing Fountain. From April to October, the fountain dances every odd hour beginning at 7am. There’s a famous composition playing during the display. If you happen to be there during the evening, lights are added enhancing the water show.  Click here for a Singing Fountain schedule of music compositions.

In these spa towns, there are mineral springs, containing carbon dioxide and mineral salts. Drinking the mineral water is said to have medicinal effects ~ people have been partaking in mineral springs water since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans.  Personally I couldn’t get past my one sip of the water.  But I did enjoy the spa wafers ~ be sure to try them while you’re there.

“Spa treatments” didn’t start in Central Europe until 18th Century and Mariánské Lázně is one of the youngest of spa towns.  The town celebrated it’s 200 year anniversary in 2008.

Whenever we would visit, we enjoyed all the various fountains around town:

Marianske Lanske Logan at Fountain in Marienbad

Karlovy Lázně (Karlsbad) is the more famous spa town, as well as the largest, in the Czech Republic. It’s a charming town which lies in a lush green valley where the River Teplá and River Ohře (Eger) converge. Meandering through town is the best way to see it. The town has impressive Colonnades which you can walk through and drink the healing waters.The earliest mention of the treatments in Karlovy Lázně comes when, at the end of the 14th century, Charles IV submersed his ill legs in one of the mineral springs.


Sampling the mineral water

Sampling the mineral water

Thermal Hotel

Logan walking along the River Teplá

John and Logan along river Teplá

The view from the top of the hill is impressive not to mention the fun of riding the funicular train to the top:

View of Karlovy Vary

View of Karlovy Vary

Top of venicular Venicular

Be sure to have lunch or dinner at the GrandHotel Pupp.  It’s very elegant with fantastic customer service.  The hotel was a location site in the movie Last Holiday and it also appears in the James Bond film Casino Royale  (the one with yummy Daniel Craig) although in the film it’s referred to as Hotel Splendide in Montenegro.

Granhotel Pupp

We took most of our visitors to Karlovy Lázně and got a photo of them on the steps near the center of town.

Jamie, Tricia, and Kayla on the steps

On the steps KV Frank and Phyllis

On the Steps KV Karla and Scott

On the steps in Karlovy Vary  John and PattiBetty and John on the steps

Makes me smile just remembering those wonderful visits!

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Timing for celebrating a birthday which falls on a Monday doesn’t work well due to busy school and work schedules.  We did take Logan out for a birthday dinner on the big day but decided to wait until following Saturday to have a small party with a few friends.


It ended up being a “birthday week”  ~ no complaints from Logan.

On Saturday, Favorite Girl invited a few friends over to have dinner, play few games and, of course, enjoy cake (or in her case cupcakes).

Her friends are so sweet:

Cupcakes were requested instead of a cake on both days (the actual birthday and the party day) so John made several trips to our favorite cupcake place, Georgetown Cupcakes.

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Girl!

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We love having houseguests ~ it’s always fun to reconnect with family and friends.  Last weekend, we had a visit from Arnis, who was a friend of my mom’s and is now a friend of ours. 

Arnis Patti and Logan Welcome to DC

It was a short visit but we squeezed in as much DC sites as we could.  First stop ~ the Pentagon. Then it was on the metro to Rosslyn for a quick walk over the Key Bridge into Georgetown.  Had a wonderful lunch at The Tombs then walked along the Potomac to the Lincoln Memorial.  Got a good view looking back towards the Washington Harbor:

Unfortunately, the reflecting pool is still ugly under renovations:

We ran into a few “Occupy Wall Street” protesters and John decided to join in (not really but…)


Next stop was The National Archives for John and Arnis. Logan and I went to The Gallery of Art’s outdoor park. We’d both been to the Archives twice so we decided to enjoy the wonderful fall afternoon and people-watch in the park.  We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at a Thai restaurant in Old Town. 

The next day, Arnis and I went to Mount Vernon and took Maya (my dog) along with us. The nice thing about the Mount Vernon Estate is they allow dogs on the grounds (everywhere except in the House and the visitor center/museum).  Again, couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful fall day. 

Arnis left on Sunday afternoon and, on Sunday evening, I got a call from my Uncle Jules (my mother’s brother) and he said he, my Aunt and cousin would be in town on Wednesday for an overnight stay.  Last time I saw my Uncle and Aunt was at my mother’s funeral which was a year and a half ago and I hadn’t seen my cousin in YEARS!!!!  I was so thrilled to see them.  And it made me miss Hawaii A LOT! I t was a rainy afternoon so we ate and went down memory lane 🙂  My Aunt is a ardent gardener and spent a lot of time discussing my garden.  It was nice to get some expert advice.  Here I am with my Uncle and Aunt (and the Hawaii Ginger plant):

My cousin Jade and my Aunt:

And another nice surprise was that my Aunt’s niece was in DC with her husband who was on a business trip.  They came to the house for dinner and we enjoyed hearing about their travels.  They make us look like homebodies!

The biggest raves I got was for my eggplant/zucchini casserole and the “dump cake”  which is always a big hit 🙂

I have to say seeing my Aunt and Uncle makes me realize it’s been way too long since I’ve been to Hawaii ~ time to start planning a spring trip!

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Happy Birthday to John!

Favorite Girl and I had a nice birthday dinner waiting for John when he got home from work.  I even cooked chicken for him which is a big deal for this vegetarian girl 🙂  It was a recipe which required the least amount of “handling”.  We ate in the new breakfast nook because, after the removal of the wood paneling, we can’t seem to get tired of looking at it.

We made a double layer cake ~ chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate frosting in the middle and covered with vanilla frosting. Yummy!  And as you can see, Favorite Girl insisted on the exact number of candles on the cake:

Happy Birthday John ~ we love you!!

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Aloha ‘Oe

Mom’s funeral was yesterday in Hilo, Hawaii ~ her hometown.  It was a family celebration of her life. Lots of stories, laughter, tears and, something my mom always enjoyed, lots of good food. Her children, sister, brother, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc were all present. I was so thankful to have John and Logan with me. John was able to take R&R and made the long journey.  And I certainly have appreciated all the thoughts and prayers from family and friends ~ it’s been a source of strength for me. 

The service was at a long time family church. She used to attend services with her parents and siblings many years ago. The burial was within walking distance and after the burial, after we prayed the 23 Psalms and the Lord’s prayer, we sang Aloha ‘Oe.  The song has special meaning to my mom (and to most people from Hawaii) and has lovely lyrics which say “Aloha ‘Oe, farewell to thee. One fond embrace before I now depart. Until we meet again.”

Until we meet again…

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