Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Word of the Year


1. done with intention (an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result) or on purpose

This is my word for 2012. I want to live all areas of my life ... physical, spiritual, mental and social with purpose. I want to be intentional in my habits ... eating better, regular exercise, getting enough sleep. I need to focus more on my spiritual growth, spending time in the Word and work on being more balanced mentally and socially.
Last night I had the opportunity to spend time with the ladies from our REACH group sharing and praying for one another. It was a great way to focus on the new year, encourage and support one another in areas where we want to grow. I know these ladies will be checking on me and asking how I've been intentional in my daily walk. Keeping me accountable.
Here's to a new year ... a new page ... a new adventure. Looking forward to 2012!

Words With Friends

I started playing Words With Friends over the winter break and now I am addicted : ) I'm still getting the hang of it but as I play each game my losses aren't quite so steep. I was beat by 100-200 points while playing my first few games but now I am narrowly losing/winning.
It has been fun to connect with friends and spend a few days playing back and forth. I'm still a little shy about playing with the "pros" but I'm working at building my word skills.

A Reading Milestone

2011 was a great reading year. Thanks to my reading group I was able to finish 44 books and it wasn't only the number of books but they encouraged me to expand my reading taste. Our theme this year was the Northwest ... books or authors. We each picked four titles for the group to read (a total of 12 books). I read several books that I would have bypassed at the bookstore or library. They became some of my all-time favorites! An added bonus ... a monthly dinner to discuss our current read. Great insights and conversation. Thanks, ladies for sharing this fun adventure with me!
2012 has a new theme ... a mixture of humor, fiction, classic, non-fiction. From our list I know I will be challenged but I'm looking forward to getting lost in a good book in the coming year.
To view the list of books I read this year click the Libarything or Goodreads link on the right sidebar.
Have you read a good book this year? I would love to add a few new titles to my 2011 list!

Christmas Pizza Toss

Years ago we moved away from a formal Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. It felt like we'd just finish cleaning up breakfast dishes and it was time to prepare another big meal. Actually, we were still quite full from breakfast plus I really didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen ... I wanted to enjoy my family. We came up with the idea of "Build You Own ____." Over the years it has been sub sandwiches, burritos etc. but this year I thought it would be fun to try "Build Your Own Pizza." The grandkids love pizza and with two former Bellagio Pizza makers in the family it seemed like the perfect plan.
I tried to think of every possible pizza topping with the exception of anchovies!
The grandkids were a great help to the "Bellagio Bros." in rolling out the dough just right.
Preparing the pizzas for baking takes some time. So many choices!

Here's a fun clip from our pizza kitchen ...

The pizzas were delicious ... a great idea that also incorporates FUN in our day.
Good memories!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just What I Wanted!

We always enjoy Christmas morning brunch with the family. Seems like we start talking and storytelling, forgetting we have a tree full of presents. Last year I went all out with the 12 Months of Christmas but this year we decided on a Date Night theme and several of us received gift cards for dinner and a movie. We also received Italian cooking classes at Sur la Table and many nice, thoughtful gifts. Our best gift ... what was written in the cards, seeing the excitement on the grandkids' faces, love shared and time being together. This was our greatest gift!

This Was Not Planned!

Another Christmas surprise ... Brian and Walt are dressed alike : ) It was not planned but we had so much fun taking pictures and having a good laugh!!

A Special Christmas Surprise

What a wonderful surprise! A Christmas morning visit from the Weckerts. We finally got to meet baby Luke. He is such a cute baby boy ... full of smiles and laughter. Eric was always like a 4th son so it was nearly like holding another grandson.
What JOY to see those who "grew up" playing at our house, spending time with our family and now are parents with their new baby boy.
It was a perfect way to start our Christmas morning. Thanks Eric, Whitney and Luke for stopping by!

Christmas Eve ... Tradition

Our day began with breakfast at 9:00a.m. at Season's and Regions with Bryon and Heather. The food was excellent and it was fun eating on the heated patio. I highly recommend this restaurant and I'm thinking it would be a fun place to have a monthly Saturday breakfast.
After breakfast we drove downtown and met everyone at Pioneer Place.
A great stop for the grandkids to see Santa and have their picture taken. We also had the opportunity to shop for those last-minute Christmas gifts. The kids loved throwing coins in the fountain and making wishes.
Following tradition there is always a stop at Starbucks for our annual hot beverage. The weather was so mild and dry. The perfect day to hang out at Pioneer Square. We also shared the square with Syrian protesters ... a first. It was also a pleasure to run into Jeff Myers while getting coffee. We haven't seen him in years!
Our next stop was Rock Bottom for dinner. This has been an annual tradition for several years, especially now that Hi-Hat closed.
For those brave few ... an 8:00p.m. movie at Bridgeport. We enjoyed MI4 ... quite a bit of action to keep us going until midnight services at church. It was nice to see a full service at TCC. We always love this candlelight service and the focus on the reason for the season --the birth of Jesus. We got home after 1:00a.m. A long but lovely day!

Our Christmas Card to You

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

We Rule Still Rules

It has been six months and I am still playing We Rule. It continues to hold my interest and I have not gotten bored with it. I am now up to level 59 and enjoy "managing" my kingdom. The game is available on the iPad and iPhone. If you give it a try, my user name is kdgee. Did I also mention it's free?!?!
Come on ... you know it will be fun : )

Village People

In the early 90's I painted an entire ceramic Christmas village. It took hours but it has been fun to display each year over several decades. This year our little Village Elves had such fun rearranging the town, playing with the people and making it "snow." I never dreamed another generation would have such fun with it.
It's nice to have decorations the kids can play with and not have to worry about breakage etc. I remember how fun the decorations were at my Grandma's house ... especially the aluminum tree and color wheel. It was so fascinating!
Maybe someday our grandkids will inherit this little village and carry on the tradition in their homes.

Christmas Home Decor

We have so many lovely decorations but you may wonder about the story behind this one.
One Secretary's Day while I was on staff at Archer Glen a second-grader drew a picture of the three of us with big red lips so it was kind of a joke with the staff.
Our music teacher, Mr. Greiner was quite comical and used to stop by my desk several times a week and ask how my new album was coming along. If you know me, you know I do not possess the gift of carrying a tune so it was quite the tease. He even went as far as to put in his sub notes ..."ask Karen in the office about her new album." So, being that our secretarial team was very clever we decided to get him back. We made a CD of Christmas carols and created our own album cover. We made a tee shirt with our picture on the front and Sherwood concert dates on the back. It was hilarious! We presented it to him for Christmas and it was the first and only time he was totally speechless!
Those were golden years ... work was fun!
And that's the story behind this fun Christmas decoration!
P.S. Credit goes to Donna for providing a lifetime of wax lips!

Secret Shoppers

For the past few years we have taken the grandkids out for an evening of dinner and Christmas shopping. This year our little shoppers chose Sweet Tomatoes for dinner and boy, was there a crowd! After our meal we drove over to TCC to check out the Drive-Through Nativity. It was our first time attending this event. When we arrived we were greeted with a cup of hot cocoa ... the kids loved it. As we drove through the different stations, we read the verses and enjoyed the Christmas scenes with people from the church and live animals. When we got down to where the sheep were displayed Walt drove on the wrong side of the cones and hit a small concrete curb. He backed up and ran over a large cone dragging it down the parking lot. It not only made a loud scrapping sound but he had to stop to try and remove it. This required backing up, going forward, backing up etc. It was quite comical : ) I do not know how the shepherds or wise men kept a straight face during this comedic routine. I would have been full of giggles! As we neared the end of the display, there's a place to stop and drop off prayer requests and as we rolled down our window, we were told, "We already know what to pray about for you ..." hahaha I know it will be a great family Christmas "legend" to pass down for generations!
We were successful in purchasing and wrapping gifts for mom and dad. While driving them home, Calleigh leaned over to Colin and said, "Wouldn't it be great if Grandma and Grandpa had kids!" LOL! We love this annual tradition with the grandkids!

Gift Bags

Years ago I used to paint gift bags but as the years went by the project became too time consuming during the holidays.
This year I found a great idea on a blog. I downloaded the jpg but forgot to flag the post in my RSS feed so now I can't give credit where credit is due. Anyway, I opened this file in PSE9, ran white paper bags through my printer and you can see the pictured results.
I used them for my cookie exchange and gift giving at work. I loved how they turned out and I am now thinking of creating files for birthdays etc. I have a large stash of white lunch bags just waiting to be transformed into something fun!

A Little Bit of a White Christmas

On one of our many Christmas shopping outings we were amazed to see a beautiful winter scene in the Wilsonville area. It was limited to a small pocket surrounding the Costco area. It was so beautiful that we saw a family get out and take pictures in front of a treed area of the parking lot.
While it would have been nice to have a White Christmas I guess we need to find JOY in this small area of winter not far from our home!

Delivering ... Frustration

December 8th was our scheduled furniture delivery date. Walt had to take the morning off to accept delivery between 10:00 and 2:00. I had asked if they could come after 2:00 when I would be available ... the answer was a solid "NO!" So, I relieved Walt of his "shift" at 2:30 and they did not arrive until nearly 3:30 ... I started feeling a little frustrated : )
The delivery guys brought the sofa into the garage, analyzed the room, doorways etc. and said it would not fit through the door and wanted to return the sofa to the warehouse. Now I was not only frustrated but a little angry. I called the store and the clerk talked to the delivery guy. He told him to take the packaging off the sofa and move it in the room. The guy refused saying it would get damaged. The clerk got back on the phone with me and said the delivery guy wasn't even trying. I contacted Walt and he was very frustrated as he had just arrived at work and would now have to fight rush hour traffic to return home to deal with this.
The delivery guy wanted me to sign the delivery form stating I refused delivery. Now, I couldn't do that ... that would be a lie : ) because in actuality he was refusing to do his job and I would be stuck with the $80 delivery fee if he took it back. Finally he called his dispatcher and then sat in his truck. He couldn't leave until I signed the form. It was a battle of wills and I decided to make dinner and let them sit out in their cold truck!
When Walt arrived he told them to take it into the garage, unpackage it and he would help them get it in the family room. First the dispatcher said we had to sign a form stating that they would not be responsible for any woodwork or wall damage (really!?!?!) Well, with Walt's help they had it in the room within minutes. Such drama ... and frustration!
We love the new look and we are thankful to have that whole episode behind us. It's only now that we can laugh about the whole thing.

Well, it certainly has been awhile ...

Instead of going back to where my blog left off, I thought I would pick up around Black Friday and move forward from there. Seems like the speed of life picked up during the holidays. It took all my "reserves" to keep up with work, social events, food prep, shopping etc. but it has been so delightful to get the rest I need during the second half of my winter break in order to be ready to face the new year.
Black Friday is a fun tradition we share as a couple. We do get some shopping done but that's not our only goal. It's a taste of the season, enjoying friends and family and the beginning of the Christmas celebration.
We started our day at 5 a.m. We just can't miss the sock sale at Fred Meyer : ) and then grabbed a small, energizing breakfast. This year we were on the hunt for a new sofa for the family room. We decided to check out the sale at JC Penneys and after "test driving" each one ended up with our eye on a leather sofa ... which had not been on my consideration list. We wanted to make sure the color and size would work for that area. We then met friends for lunch at Red Robin. It was fun to see everyone after the busy Thanksgiving schedules. After running home, dropping off packages, taking measurements we drove over to meet the kids at Bridgeport for the tree lighting. It's always festive with "snow" blowing, live music and Santa's appearance. This year featured a group playing the oldies and Colin wanted to dance by the stage. He has some pretty good moves for a 7 year old ... and he's very brave to dance in front of such a large audience.
Since Penneys was open until 11pm we had just enough time to drive back over and write up the sale for the leather sofa. Well, 16 hours later ... we were ready to crash but what a fun day! Couldn't wait to see the new sofa in our family room. It has been more than 15 years with all plaid furniture.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Great Finds in Bend

Our Sunriver tradition is a Friday trip to Bend. We have our favorite stores and routines. I happen to love perusing the racks at the Bend Goodwill. I found so many amazing things this trip but narrowed it down to this:
Nike Capri workout pants: $4.99
Black jacket: $9.99
Eddie Bauer Shorts: 3.99
Liz Claiborne dress: 6.99
... and I got a discount with my Club Card. I spent under $25.00 for four great wardrobe additions.
All items appear "new" and in perfect condition. I really needed workout pants for the gym and the Eddie Bauer shorts are brand new. I wear the same style/fabric in capri length from this store. I love the dress ... I am thinking I'll wear it with a white cardigan next summer.
I love building my wardrobe off of great bargains I find at Goodwill. I can't believe the things I find there. I am pretty much a "label-snob" as I only buy certain brand-name clothing there. The store in Bend never disappoints. I always leave happy. In this economy it's always a joy to find the perfect "treasure."
The weather here today is perfect ... sunny and warm. Loved sitting out in the hot tub and just relaxing ... watching the trees sway in the breeze. It will be hard going back to reality tomorrow!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crockpot Applesauce

While packing for Sunriver I added a few new recipes to try including ingredients to prepare them. Today I made Crockpot Applesauce, a recipe I found on a, a blog I subscribe to. The author "started Skinnytaste back in 2008 in an attempt to help her stay healthy, experiment with creating skinny recipes, and develop her photography skills to expand her own background as a digital photo retoucher."
The applesauce cooked for 6 hours and it turned out delicious ... the perfect fall accompaniment for our dinner this evening. There are only 65.9 calories per 1/4 cup and 1 point (Weight Watchers). Check out her blog ... you'll find this recipe and many more.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What A Day For A Daydream ...

Only seems right to have another bike picture follow my last post ... only this one is 52 years later!
We enjoyed the first day of our Sunriver fall getaway. Seems like it takes one day just to unwind before enjoying our time here.
It was nice to sleep in, read a book, look through stacks of magazines ... no agenda; no schedule; no to-do list. The sky here is blue, the color palette of the fall foliage is breathtaking and the air is crisp and clean.
Late this afternoon we rode bikes to the Village Mall. It felt good to be outdoors cruising down the bike paths. The song, "What a Day for a Daydream," by the Loving Spoonful kept playing through my mind ..."Dreaming 'bout my bundle of joy. "What a perfect day! It's nearly November and I love that we still need to wear sunglasses.
From the bike path it is fun to see how things have changed since our stay last fall. The Mall has been completely remodeled, an aquatic recreation center is under construction and several homes are being remodeled or listed for sale.
This is our ninth year to enjoy a fall break in Sunriver ... enjoying the same house ... same traditions!

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Yes, this photo is of me ... 1959. The first day I rode my bicycle "solo." What a great memory. This photo was taken in front of our home. We lived on 30th near Killingsworth with a mix of homes and businesses. It was a fun place to grow up. Such a busy place with buses and pedestrians passing by -- a lot of activity! In the picture you will notice a Coast to Coast Hardware store, a small barber shop and a market on the corner.
Back in July we planned a birthday dinner date with the Dehazes and Auxiers to dine at Beast in my old neighborhood. My, how things have changed on the block I grew up on!
Beast is owned by Chef Naomi Pomeroy, who competed on Top Chef last spring. The dining room is very simple with chalkboard walls and communal dining tables. It is a very cozy, intimate dining experience while watching the chefs in action as your 6-course French cuisine meal is prepared. There is a fixed menu that changes weekly -- but substitutions are politely declined! Fortunately, our menu included Grass Fed Carmen Ranch New York Strip Loin ... from Wallowa : ) It was wonderful!!
I have included the menu from our visit to show you the foods we enjoyed and the wine pairings.
Each course was delicious and the portions were just the right size.
I will honestly tell you ... this is a pricey dining experience. Bring your VISA Gold (LOL) but you also must factor in the atmosphere, the kitchen experience, the delicious food ... and the wonderful company of great friends!
For me it was more than just dining and celebrating ... it was an opportunity to see my childhood neighborhood transformed into a trendy, upscale, happening place. Fifty years ago ... who would have thought?!?!?
Happy Birthday Donna! It was fun celebrating YOU.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gloves ... The Perfect Accessory

Well, it certainly has been a while since my last post. It has been a month of intense work with the start of a new school year. It's good to see the hope of routine ahead as we get ready to flip the calendar to October.
I'm breaking my number one blogging rule ... I'm posting about work. In the past, school district employees have been required to watch a bloodborne pathogen training video each year. They are pretty cheesy. I remember one year having to watch the required video in the staff lunchroom. Pity those who were trying to enjoy their break or eat their lunch ... blood displayed everywhere on the TV screen! It was not a pretty sight.
Well, yesterday I got to experience one of the scenarios the BBP video highlighted ... but as a main character. I won't go in to much detail other than to say that I sliced my right index finger on a piece of equipment and there was a lot of blood. Nope ... none of us had gloves in our pockets at the ready as the video always described in the scene -haha! I did end up going to urgent care and thankfully did not need stitches or a tetanus shot but my finger is wrapped to three times the original size. I have to leave the dressing on for three days making it difficult to work ... or type. So if my typing doesn't make sense ... I will blame it on that.
Anyway, for fun I went online and found a modern version of the Bloodborne Pathogen video ... much more entertaining than the one we had to watch. Just a reminder ... don't forget to accessorize each day with those much needed gloves. You never know when you will need them in the workplace :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Choose Joy

One way I have been using technology this summer is with daily devotions. I discovered Kay Warren's site through another blog. She is the wife of Rick Warren from Saddleback Church in CA. While visiting her website you can sign up to have a daily video delivered to your inbox each day for 30 days. Each video is only 3-4 minutes in length and the focus is: Choose Joy. Who couldn't use more JOY? I have enjoyed listening to her each day ... her insights, suggestions, the verses she shares ... all stick with me throughout the day. Click here for more info on her site. Spend a few minutes each day learning how you can have more JOY in your life.

Go Big or Go Home

Since we have watched so many theater movies this month, I've noticed how some people in the audience are making themselves right at home.
We now have our favorite seats (thanks to Michelle's suggestion) located on the row just in front of the rail. It makes it easier to get in and out and no one is sitting in front of you.
Tuesday night after the theater darkened and the movie was beginning a guy came in with a large popcorn and giant beverage in hand. He spied one of the only seats available in the crowded auditorium ... next to me. He had to climb OVER the rail to get to his seat ... keep in mind, he wasn't a small guy! I believe he was going to ask me to hold his refreshments while he got settled but decided to set them on the floor in front of him. As the movie was playing, he started talking to me, asking me questions, explaining the movie (yikes!) all while making his popcorn more gourmet with seasoning he brought in with him ... "Would you like to try some on your popcorn?" I pretended to sprinkle some in my bag. So I'm thinking he's settled and ready to watch the movie. Oh, no .... he then removed his shoes and placed his stocking feet ... not on the bottom bar of the rail but the top bar ... asking me, "Do my feet block your view????" O.K. ... so at that point I felt like I was part of a Saturday Night Live skit or something. Where's the hidden camera!!!
The theater has a slogan, "Go big or go home." I think this guy already thought he as there ... making himself right at home!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We Rule

This summer I have joined a couple of Templeton "retirees" in playing an iPad online game with them.
We Rule is a social game played on the iPad or iPhone. It's a chance for you to govern your own kingdom as city planner, landscaper, builder, farmer, tax collector etc.
Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would get hooked on a social game but I am enjoying it : )
Sometimes in our busy schedules we need to make time for PLAY!
Wonder what will happen to my kingdom when I return to work!?!?

Summary of My Summer

Here's a summary of summer events from my calendar. I gave Tagxedo a try in creating this. You could spend hours trying new fonts, color themes and layouts ... and browsing creations already posted in the gallery. The shapes intrigue me and I hope to get back to this site and give it a try.
Only a few calendar squares open before I head back to work. Summer break is coming to a close!

Summer Movie Date Night

I've been a bit off the radar with my blog this summer. It seems like all the calendar squares have been filled with people, projects and fun events. One activity we have enjoyed during the month of August ... $5.00 movie night at Regal Cinemas in our area. We've also received several freebies with our Regal card -- popcorn, beverages, $2 popcorn. This has made for a standing Thrifty Tuesday Date Night.
When we went to see The Help we worried about crowds since it had only been released a few days. We quickly drove by Taco Bell for dinner and when we arrived at the theater we discovered we were the first ones there. The total price of that date night for two including dinner, movie and popcorn: $17. You just can't go wrong at that price. Here are a few of the movies we've seen this summer:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wedding Attendants: Past and Present

In 1958 I was a flower girl in a wedding for my Sunday School teacher, Carleen. I remember I had a white basket shaped umbrella filled with flower petals. I don't recall too many details from that day but I do remember having to go back after the honeymooners returned to take pictures. I believe there was a camera "malfunction" on the wedding day ... as in ... no film in the camera. Oops!
Saturday Colin and Calleigh were attendants in Matt and Kathy's wedding along with Kathy's niece and nephew, Grayson and Rhiannon. They were at the wedding for nearly eight hours and they did such a great job through all the photo sessions, the ceremony, dinner and dancing. They were excellent!
I'm sure I will have more photos posted in the next few days ...

And I Have Kept Back the Rain From You ...

Amos 4:7
And I have kept back the rain from you ...

Here's a picture at 3:00 p.m. shortly after we arrived at Vista Hills Vineyard yesterday on the wedding day. Rain was in the forecast (is this REALLY July in Oregon?) and Matt & Kathy would make a decision by 5:30 p.m. to move the ceremony indoors or continue with the outdoor plan.

Here's a picture at 6:30 p.m. Notice how the weather changed!

Here's a Facebook post from a dear friend, Melney yesterday morning:
So excited for you today! Praying everything goes as planned and the clouds clear away and beautiful sunshine comes out for the special wedding day!
Wow ... thanks to all of you for your prayers! We were able to follow the original plan and the bride and groom got to enjoy the wedding of their dreams.
Of course ... more photos to follow!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh, We're Going To The Chapel and ...

This is THE weekend ... what we've looked forward to for the last fourteen months. Today includes rehearsal/luncheon and Saturday is Wedding Day! The weather forecast predicts rain so Thursday the bride and groom geared up for Plan B by ordering an extra tent for the outdoor events. No matter what the weather ... nothing will ruin this special event for our family :)
I have been working on this slideshow since the beginning of my summer break -- scanning pictures, creating slides, and adding music clips to show at the rehearsal luncheon. It was fun and a bit stretching for me including new technology skills. Walt added the professional finish. Sit back and enjoy a little trip down memory lane ...

Matt and Kathy Wedding Slideshow from Karen Germer on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

American Idol -Portland

I found this video on YouTube taken by Mrcooksnumber1fan ... my videos were taken from too far away to post. Great sound but poor image quality.
We were "late bloomers" to the American Idol show. We didn't watch the show until the finale when David Cook won. The following season we became dedicated viewers the entire season from tryouts to the finale and have continued through this year even with all the changes.
I love watching someone move forward professionally and each year I find a favorite from the very beginning. This year Scotty caught my eye early in the season. Even though I have never been a fan of country music, I liked his personality and deep voice. Hard to believe he's only a teenager.
We waited a bit too long to buy our tickets. We went back and forth on the decision and finally made up our minds to go ... we liked the diversity/talent of the eleven in the tour. I have to say ... our seats were up pretty high in the Rose Garden but we still had a good view. It was a fun evening and I would definitely go again.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Best of Italy in Review

Oh ... one more Italy post :)
I thought I would add a video Walt put together from our trip.
Thank you again for traveling with me in "I Remember ... Italy!"
Now ... I need to get last minute projects finished for the wedding next weekend. Excited!

I Remember ... Goodbye Rome, Hello Portland

We decided to sign up for the first departure van to the airport. We probably could have slept a little longer and gone with the second group but Walt was concerned about going through customs etc. We were looking forward to a long day ...
We woke up at 5:00 a.m., got the last minute packing done, and set our luggage outside our door. The hotel had breakfast in the lobby area with only a few of us up and ready to depart. We so appreciated having John and Jan there to say goodbye. They were planning to stay several more days so they really didn't need to be up that early ... but that's the kind of people they are ... very sweet and thoughtful.
After our final goodbyes and hugs we boarded the shuttle bus for the ride to the airport.
The airport was the same routine ... going through all the procedures to get through customs and finally to our gate. We faced a long wait since we arrived too early. It was a good time to read and relax a bit. There were a few shops open so I spent the rest of our euros picking up a few more souvenirs.
For some reason the flight seemed so long returning to Philadelphia. And to think ... when our flight landed there would be another six-hour flight to Portland. When we deboarded in Philadelphia it almost seemed to take longer to reenter the United States than leaving it. So many lines to go through. When we were going through customs we noticed John and Carmen behind us in line. They had left in the second shuttle ... so I guess we could have gotten a bit more sleep after all.
The gate to Portland was packed and the airport was extremely warm. We really didn't have time to eat but wifi was available so we contacted family members to let them know we were on our way. By now I felt very "antsy" to get home. Thinking of sitting on a plane for another six hours seemed unbearable. Seems like once you know you're heading home ... you just can't wait to get there!
It was good to see Oregon once again from the sky ... nice to be home. When we left our gate we noticed our grandchildren holding signs saying, "Welcome Home" and Brian and Tim were there too. What a wonderful welcome back! The first thing Walt wanted at the Wendy's (in the airport) was a large iced tea with extra ice ... but wouldn't you know it ... it was not available! By the time Brian dropped us off at home it was 11:00 PM ... and with all the time changes ... it made for a very long day.
Grazie ... I hope you have enjoyed "looking back" with me ... maybe learning something new about Italy or perhaps you are now considering traveling there sometime in the near future. Hopefully one day I will listen to / read about your travel stories. Arrivederci!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I Remember ... The Farewell Dinner

Once again we boarded the bus for our Farewell Dinner in Rome.
There is live music, warm but comfortable temperatures and tables set up on a tiled patio ... a beautiful setting. I wish I could remember the name and location of the restaurant.

Our table mates for the evening were the DiCarlos. Such enjoyable company!

Here's our tour group enjoying the evening:

Telly made a farewell speech reviewing our time together and there were many toasts and much laughter. Ken was our group spokesperson and thanked Telly for not only being a wonderful tour guide, but a true friend to each of us. She made our trip so wonderful ... we truly felt we had experienced the Best of Italy 2010.

We spent the remainder of the evening photographing each tour family posed with Telly and Enzo. You can only imagine how long they had to smile for each photo taken!
A time for many hugs before boarding the bus for our return trip to our hotel. There were no late evening chats in the lobby, etc. It seems everyone headed back to their room to pack and get ready for our early morning departure. It felt like our trip had truly come to an end.