A New Grandchild? Let’s Build a Dock!

Most grandmothers celebrate the arrival of a new grandchild with the purchase of furniture for a nursery or a car seat or maybe new baby clothes, but my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou, had a different way to prepare for the birth of her second grandchild. She announced that she was building a dock and buying a pontoon boat.

So Spring Break, 1987, only a few weeks before the birth of her second grandchild, the dock building began. Bettie Lou even got into the action, nailing in the final board.

This unlikely gift to welcome a newborn may have actually been a gift to her son. She wanted to make sure that he would be able to continue enjoying the lake and boating. The dock provided easy access to a boat she deemed stable enough to transport two young children under the cover of a large shaded canopy.

Dock built. Boat moored. Ready for a summer of fun with a new grandbaby.


Cherry Blossoms and Kites

Washington DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 20th to April 12th this year which seemed just about perfect for a Spring Break trip the weekend of March 27th. We planned to rent bikes to ride along the Tidal Basin and then watch the kites soar over the National Mall Saturday during the Blossom Kite Festival.

But as usual, Spring Break ushered in cold weather. The weekend brought temperatures in the 20s and 30s with wind chill dipping to the lower 20s in DC, and this year’s cold weather has delayed the blooming of the blossoms until much later than expected. In fact, the predicted peak isn’t expected until the final day of this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival.


Due to the cold windy weather, we decided against a bike ride…a good decision, and instead walked along the Tidal Basin and didn’t see a single blossom.

Surprisingly, hundreds of people braved the cold so we watched the kites flutter in the clear, blue sky in the shadow of the Washington Monument.


When we’d given up any hope of seeing the blossoms, we encountered three lone trees with blossoms and snapped a few pictures as proof that at least a couple of trees decided to cooperate.

I’m not sure what it is about Spring Break that always brings cold or windy or rainy weather, but next year, we’ll choose our own time for Spring Break. It won’t be based on the school calendar, but instead on the weather report and the appearance of blossoms. That bike ride along the Tidal Basin is just a year delayed.


Spring Break with Siri

siriIn October I finally replaced my well-loved Blackberry with an iPhone4s…not an easy decision. I reluctantly gave up a keyboard for a touchscreen, the feature I most feared. Fortunately, it hasn’t been as traumatic as I expected and in fact, I’ve particularly enjoyed having a quality camera available everywhere I take my phone.

After nearly five months, I think it’s time for me to get to know Siri, the most hyped feature of the phone. The Verizon representative spent a great deal of time demonstrating the wonders of Siri, but my interests were in making calls, texting, emailing, and searching the web. All the talk about Siri and the marvelous apps fell on deaf ears.

That's what I want to know!
That’s what I want to know!

Now that I’m hooked on the camera and several apps, it’s time to give Siri a whirl. I plan to spend Spring Break with Siri. I intend to learn how Siri can assist me in doing the basics like making calls, sending texts and emails, and searching for information on the web, but I also have my eye on some of the features like tracking weather, setting reminders, getting directions, and checking sports scores. I’ll start on the Apple website, but with just under 1.5 million YouTube videos on Siri, I don’t think there’s any shortage of information on the topic.

Look for me relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors with Siri this Spring Break.