HAPPY 234TH BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!

Kathi and Wayne - July 4, 2009

Today I am reminiscing about vacations past. I am not as well-traveled as my daughter, Nicole, but I have ventured across the Atlantic and even sailed the Caribbean while vacationing in Honduras with Nicole and Jack. But it was one of those serendipitous moments I so love I’m remembering today. Even though I have had some spectacular vacations, July 4, 2009 will always rank among the best. Last year Wayne and I spent our 4th of July weekend with our daughter, Megan, who lives in Washington D C. How I love that city! We have been there numerous times and it never fails to amaze me! This particular trip we decided to brave the crowds and go to the Capitol 4th celebration on the grounds of the U S Capitol. Yep, it was very crowded and we waited for three hours for the celebration to begin. We came prepared with our books, blanket, cooler and sandwiches. In retrospect, I don’t even remember the wait being so long probably because what came at the end of that wait was one of the most spectacular and enjoyable events of my lifetime. And, I’ve been around for a while.

We were entertained by Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, (did you hear me? I said Aretha Franklin for heaven’s sake)Natasha Bedingfield (who I didn’t expect to enjoy, but did very much-another mini serendipitous moment), the cast of the Jersey Boys, Michael Feinstein and the Muppets! It was a fantastic program! Then came the fireworks accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra and a medley of patriotic classics. Mind you, I am sitting on the lawn of our nation’s capitol watching fireworks with a backdrop of the Washington Monument and the music I love! And what a finale. Its a Fourth of July I will always remember! Prior to our trip to DC I mentioned to Megan my dream of seeing fireworks accompanied by a symphony orchestra and patriotic music. Well, she made it happen and I will always be grateful to her for that experience. I can check this one off my list…wait, no I’m not going to do that. I hope some day to return and experience that patriotic swell in my chest as I watch the fireworks and listen to that beautiful symphonic music. I even enjoyed being in that crowd-Americans who so love our country.

As I put those three little flags we waved last year during the 4th of July celebration in my coffee table centerpiece, the memory shined very brightly and a smile crossed my lips as I recalled a day I will always cherish. Happy 234th Birthday, America!

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Having quite a lovely time in the UK

We are having quite a lovely time (as the locals would say) here in the UK. I met with my brother and sister-in-law in Detroit last Tuesday and we began our journey to the UK. The flight across the pond was uneventful except for one thing. Why do I always get the fat guy???!!! Yep, no sooner had I gotten all settled in my seat on the plane when a rather rotund young British man came down the aisle and sure enough sat right down in his seat next to me. I have yet to see another fat guy in England. Lucky me! No matter where I go, I’m always sitting next to the fat guy. Wouldn’t be a problem but let’s face it-its difficult enough to sleep on a plane without having the fat guy next to you spilling over on top of you. The normally tiny space becomes even smaller. I was determined, however, not to let the fat guy interfere with my mindset-which was set to fun mode.

We arrived in London, fun mode intact, on Wednesday morning and were met at the airport by my brother’s driver who delivered us 45 minutes later to Chuck’s flat in London. It might have been a shorter trip if it hadn’t been rush hour. Even though I felt pretty much like a zombie, Mary(my sister-in-law) and I managed to go to the grocery store and take a nice walk through the streets of London  to see such sights as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben. My brother went to his office and put in a full day’s work. I have no idea how he did that because my brain was pretty darn foggy.

Mary and I took a bus tour of the city on Thursday. It was a great way to get a feel for the city. Wow! London is a beautiful city! I never thought I would see things like London Bridge, the tower of London (which isn’t really a tower), Parliament (which looked very much like Hungary’s Parliament we saw a few years ago). I didn’t even know the London Eye existed. Its a giant ferris wheel which is 40 stories high. Where have I been? Not in London! Mary and I even worked in a little shopping at Peter Jones, a department store in Chuck’s neighborhood. I learned on the way to the store Margaret Thatcher lives in Chuck’s neighborhood. Interesting. Chuck, Mary and I finished the evening with a bite to eat at a neighborhood pub, St. George’s. London/Pub=ya gotta have bangars and mash with a beer to wash it down. So I did! Life is good!

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A New Adventure

OK, I’m a little intimidated by the whole idea of writing down my thoughts and ideas for the whole world to view. Granted the whole world will probably not view this. And that’s a good thing!  I expect my family and a few friends might get a little enjoyment or maybe even a chuckle from our little chats here.  But, even though I am in my 7th decade, I still enjoy a little adventure. So, I’m gonna put one foot in front of the other and take off on this journey. I also get a gentle push from my kids from time to time to be a part of this new milleneum-or is that passe now? It is 2010. Nevertheless, my daughter, Meg, can take some responsibility for this, my attempt to have at least one foot in 2010. Yeah, I still have one foot back in the last century, but a good stretch can be beneficial. (By the way, Meg would be very disheartened that I used a dictionary to look for the correct spelling of milleneum when I simply could have used my spellcheck on the computer.) Why serendipitous? I’ve been told I am a bit of a contradiction. I must admit I questioned myself the other day when I realized I was quilting and listening to rap music. Plus, I just like the word serendipity! Something about the word-the way it rolls off your tongue, the lyrical sound it makes, the whole “surprise” element-just makes me smile.

I love to travel. I’ll be traveling with my brother, Chuck, and his wife, Mary, to Great Britain in a few days. I look forward to sharing our escapades in this space. I will also be sharing my thoughts as a baby boomer,  a grandmother, a foodie, a gym rat, a quilter, a reader…..oh, who knows what else! The thoughts are swirling in my brain now. Guess this won’t be as daunting a task as I thought. Life is good!

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