Thursday, December 11, 2014


Yesterday I read this post from Bobak Ferdowski, also known as Mohawk Guy, the NASA engineer at JPL made famous by the Mars Curiosity landing. It's a good post. Go ahead and read it.

Anyway, it reminded me that I've had a lot of help getting through this semester. And I'll have a lot more help over the next 4 1/2 years as I work toward my degree.

So I'd like to say thank you as the semester winds up.

I took two classes this semester. A full graduate load would be three, so I am not nearly as busy as many of the graduate students I know. I don't know how they do it, because two has been a little overwhelming.

When I started graduate school, Chris became the primary contact for boys' school. He has had to adjust his schedule to come home early on Thursdays this semester, since my class goes to 5:15 and the boys get home at 4. This was just something we arranged since it made sense, yet a lot of people are impressed that he is taking on so much. (That's a sad statement about fathers. Chris doesn't see anything strange about the situation.) I have to say that I'm very thankful he has a flexible schedule and we're in a position where this is possible. I'm glad he is willing to make scheduling work and that his work is able to accommodate it.

There have been quite a few weekends and evenings when I have been bogged down in homework. The boys have been really good about leaving me alone when I tell them I'm working on homework. They've maybe watched a little more tv than they should a few weekends when Chris was sick or out of town, but they have done such a good job of entertaining themselves.

I know I haven't always been the best company when we've visited with our parents. They've all been understanding when I've had to be unsociable to get some reading or an assignment done. Yes, I even brought homework to Thanksgiving.

My friends have also been very understanding with my absence the past few months. I feel like a hermit, though, and a bad friend.

Then there are the professors and other students. I really do try to apply feedback from my professors. I think I've learned quite a lot this semester. Both classes had group projects. For one class, we were able to coordinate via email and shared documents. I think we did a nice job working together and helping each other along on the project. For the other class, we've had to arrange times to meet, something difficult to do with three different work/class/life schedules. It's been an adventure, and we'll find out how our project turned out this afternoon when we present.

I'm sure there are other folks I'm forgetting who have helped me through the semester. But I do appreciate every little bit, even if it's just being supportive. Those cheers do help. They give me the confidence that I can do this, even when I'm feeling lost and over my head.

So thank you, all you lovely people.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Representation matters

Off and on over the last week, I've had this conversation, sometimes with myself, sometimes with others. It feels like one long conversation that ebbs and flows.

Yes, it's about representation.

What started this particular conversation was the story spreading through Facebook about Dr. Myiesha Taylor, an African American female physician who loves the Disney show Doc McStuffins and who Doc's mother has been named after.  The news is old, but making the rounds again.

Doc McStuffins is one of the shows my boys like to watch. They have never been bothered that the main character is a girl. They don't care that she is black. They just like the show. They like seeing how she fixes the toys.

Representation matters. There are many, many articles that talk about how important it is for kids to see people like themselves on tv, in movies, even in books. (See here, here, here, here, and here for just a few.)

I think it's pretty obvious that little girls seeing women in positions of power, or even just as human characters, is important. The same with minorities (ethnic, sexual, etc) seeing characters like themselves that are not caricatures.

Whoopi Goldberg pretty famously looked up to Nichelle Nichols, realizing that black women could be anything after seeing Lt. Uhura on Star Trek.

But it's also important for people to see characters unlike themselves. Hollywood seems to have a tough time making movies with female protagonists that aren't romances. Forget about any non-white protagonists! Video games seem to have a similar problem. The excuse always seems to be that they aren't marketable. That audiences won't be able to identify with a hero who is not a white male.

And yet, a large portion of audiences already have to identify with protagonists who don't look like them, namely anyone who is not a white male. But white men are apparently so fragile they can't be expected to identify with any character that doesn't look exactly like them.

How insulting.

Chris and I have consciously tried to expose the boys to media with female protagonists and non-white protagonists. We look for books and shows with diverse characters. It's not always easy, but we try.

We also talk about the characters they see on tv. We ask them if the characters they see match up with the world around them. We live in a very white state, but they go to a school with a significant international population, so they recognize that not everyone looks like them. They notice when movies and tv shows have all male casts and know that women are half the population.

We think that's important. It's important because they live in a world with an incredible amount of diversity. They see and will see a lot of people not like them. And they need to have empathy and be able to understand that different lived experiences create different perspectives.

We want them to live in a world that is better than the one we live in now. The first step is spending a short amount of time seeing the world through someone else's eyes, even if only for 22 minutes while watching a tv show. Recognizing the humanity in other people creates a bridge to understanding.

Understanding and compassion. Empathy.

Representation matters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I woke up this morning thinking about my grandpa Gus, and two of my great-grandpas, Thomas Patrick and Ernie.
Portrait of Gus Caponi in WWII uniform
Gus Caponi, WWII
 We've been working on genealogy off and on for a number of years, but I hadn't really looked at the family tree much recently. But Saturday, when Chris's parents were here, he wanted to show them a few neat things he had found, so we pulled up our tree on Ancestry. And down the rabbit hole we went.
A full length snap shot of Ernest Simpson in WWI uniform.
Ernest Simpson, WWI
Add to that looking through old family photos last week, picking a selection to share with Sam's teacher (they are learning how things change and I have a LOT of old photos with old cars, old tvs, old clothes....). You can see why the past has been on my mind. 

And then today is Veterans' Day. 

Full length portrait of Thomas Patrick Cuber in WWI uniform.
Thomas Patrick Cuber, WWI

Both of my grandfathers served in WWII. Two of my great-grandfathers served in WWI. There have been one or two others in my family, like Gus's brother (more than one brother?). But military service hasn't been a big thing in my family, unlike Chris's family.

Portrait of Thomas Cuber in WWII uniform.
Thomas Cuber, WWII
Chris can trace his line back to the 1600s, to the first surviving white child born in the colony of Rhode Island. There have been many with military careers on his side of the family, dating back to the Revolutionary War. His father and grandfather both served in the Air Force.

I've always appreciated the folks who choose to serve. But those of my ancestors who served did so at times when the majority of the country was involved. They fought in the Great War, in the World Wars. 

But I woke up this morning thinking about Gus, and Ernie, and Thomas Patrick. Their pictures have been floating in my mind. We attended the Veterans' Day program at the boys' school, where each grade sang a patriotic song. The relatives attending who are veterans or current military were asked to come to the front and be recognized. A service medley was played on the piano as they walked to the stage, and their kids joined them. 

And it hit me in the feels. 

Thank you to all the service members, past, present, and future. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bear Bear

Sam's class is investigating how/if things have changed. They are collecting artifacts from the past to compare to today.

I put together a few things to lend his teacher: a disc of old family pictures (lots of clothes from various eras, plus a few other gems), a couple buttons from when I was a kid, an old 3.5" floppy disc, a Happy Hollisters book, my well-loved Raggedy Andy, and.... Bear Bear.

Bear Bear is my Teddy bear from when I was a baby. He has a music box inside and used to play "Teddy Bear Picnic". The music box has been broken for years.

The boys discovered him a few years ago. From time to time, they play with him. Sometimes they choose him as their stuffed animal to sleep with. I'm glad Bear Bear is loved.

Wil snuggling with Bear Bear the Teddy bear
Wil and Bear Bear
Today I brought the bag of artifacts to school since I knew I would see Sam's teacher. She was thrilled to receive some items and promised she would send them home in a couple weeks when the class was done with them.

At dinner, I mentioned to Sam that I brought in a bag of artifacts since he knew he was supposed to bring some in. He asked what I sent, of course.

When I mentioned Bear Bear, Wil burst into tears. This wasn't just hurt feelings that I sent in something they liked. It wasn't disappointment.

He was sobbing. Inconsolably.

Because he loves Bear Bear ("He's my favorite bear!"). And he's afraid Bear Bear will never come home.

It took hugs, and promises that Bear Bear is just visiting, to calm him down.

And Sam, knowing his brother, went up to dig through the stuffed animal bin to find Wil's other favorites, which he asked for as soon as the tears subsided: Raf the giraffe, Cheeto the giraffe, Horsey, Cow, Kitty....

And we couldn't find Kitty.

After a desperate search (we found Kitty), Wil now has a pile of his favorites on his bed, ready to soften the tiny hole in his heart.

Meanwhile, I'm left with a tiny hole in my heart, because I didn't know how much Bear Bear meant to him or that he'd be so upset.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gen Con 2014 in review

Gen Con: a tiring, fun weekend.

Since school started 2 weeks ago, we weren't able to get to Indy until Friday evening. I made sure to do my nerdicure before we drove to Indy, applying Espionage Cosmetics' Critical Hit nail wraps.

My nerdicure, Espionage Cosmetics' Critical Hit nail wraps
My nerdicure: Espionage Cosmetics' Critical Hit.
Since we were only at Gen Con for a few hours Friday night, I decided to cosplay in comfort. I donned a bathrobe, pajama pants and a towel to play Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. For anyone looking to get into cosplay but intimidated, this is a super easy one to do.
Friday night cosplay: Arthur Dent
Friday night cosplay: Arthur Dent
 Of course, we stayed up way too late Friday night, playing a new board game, Epic Resort, with friends until sometime after midnight.

We tried not to over schedule ourselves this year, but we did have a few fun workshops and seminars Saturday. I started off my day decorating cupcakes to look like 1-Up Mushrooms. We rolled fondant, cut shapes, and learned how to apply it to the cupcakes. Of course, my cupcakes only lasted long enough for me to show them off before Chris and I ate them.
My 1-Up Mushroom cupcakes
My cupcakes
Saturday was the big cosplay day, as usual. I dressed as Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service. This is actually the easiest costume I've made, with a pretty simple black dress and a big red bow. Of course, creating the pattern for the dress was a challenge, but Amanda helped me do that. A big bonus to this cosplay? It comes with a bag to carry stuff!

And I must share the cosplay pictures: me as Kiki with Amanda as Elsa, and me as Kiki with Chris as a Scotsman (he wanted to wear his kilt).
Amanda cosplaying as Elsa from Frozen and me cosplaying as Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service.
Elsa and Kiki

Chris in his kilt, dressed as a Scot, and me as Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service
Me and my Scotsman
I actually didn't take a lot of pictures of people cosplaying this year. I enjoyed seeing all the costumes, but didn't feel the need to document them all. Plus, I was usually too busy doing my own thing to stop and ask. I did go to a seminar on cosplaying on a budget. I knew a lot of the tips, although there was some good information shared. I think the best part of that seminar was the people attending sharing their tips and tricks.

Chris went to a leather working workshop in the afternoon. He cut and prepped all the pieces to make a new sporran. He still needs to sew it together, but that shouldn't be too difficult. This was actually a perfect project since he wanted to buy or make a bigger sporran than his current one. 

Saturday night in Indy was crazy busy, with a pre-season Colts game at the same time as Gen Con. Restaurants downtown were packed, but we really wanted to sit down to eat dinner rather than hit the food trucks again. We ended up at California Pizza Kitchen, which was a great choice, because the wait for a table was only 25 minutes. It was nearly 2 hours at Ram and 4 hours at Harry and Izzy's!

Oh, and the food trucks? Best addition to Gen Con. The variety of food is awesome, plus there is a lot less waiting than when convention hall food or waiting for a restaurant table were the only options. And there are cupcakes. 

We brought the boys to their first Gen Con Sunday. This year we've introduced them to cons, starting with Indy Comic Con in March, followed by Indy Pop Con in May. They were less overwhelmed by Gen Con, even though it's bigger than either of the others. I think having the experience of the other cons helped them feel more comfortable since they already knew some of what to expect.

New to Gen Con (I think) was a button hunt for kids. There were 9 Gen Con buttons to collect in various parts of the convention center. This was a smart way for Gen Con to draw kids into areas they might not otherwise go. And the kids loved it! The button hunt kept our two engaged and entertained for a good hour. They were able to collect 8 of the buttons (the mercenary was gone)--and then we ran into some friends who had only collected the mercenary and gave them to the boys. They were so excited to have a complete set!

The boys collected all nine buttons in the button hunt.
The boys with their buttons!
We were actually able to stay for over 4 hours with the boys, a record. (Previous con record was 2 hours before they were overwhelmed.) They were excited to see Waldo, Steve from Minecraft, and other cosplayers. Then we saw a Wookiee. And the Wookiee was playing cello in a band. They didn't quite know what to think about that!
Watching a band with a Wookiee on cello.
There's a Wookiee in the band!
 On our way out, we stopped to watch Rusty Bawls performing in the hallway. He's a Gen Con tradition. The boys didn't want to watch at first, but they soon were charmed by his juggling and antics.
Rusty Bawls juggling and entertaining the crowd in the hall.
Rusty Bawls, a Gen Con tradition
And then it was time to go. We were tired, and the boys were done with the crowds. They also needed time to play with their new dice and cards once we got home. Until next year....

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Minecraft birthday cake

For his birthday this year, Sam wanted a Minecraft cake. I think what I came up with is pretty darn creative and cute. The birthday boy loved it.

I made 2 boxes of cake mix (strawberry, Sam's favorite). I found square cake pans to make a tiered cake: 6", 8", and 10". The 2 boxes of mix were a good amount to fill the 3 pans.

I stacked the tiers then cut a couple of cubes and moved them to emulate the Minecraft world.

Now, I am not the world's best cake decorator, but I think this came out great. I mixed 4 colors of icing: blue for water, green for grass, brown for dirt, and gray for stone. I even managed to create a waterfall.

Minecraft cake side 1, featuring a waterfall.
The waterfall side.

Minecraft cake side 2, featuring a cavern.
Is that a cavern to explore?

Minecraft cake side 3, featuring water, stone to the side, and a grassy hill.
A grassy hill leading up from water.

Minecraft cake side 4, featuring dirt and grass.
The 'boring' side: grass and dirt.

For characters, Chris found pictures to print on cardstock and cut out. We loaded up the cake with Steve surrounded by zombies, skeletons, creepers, and an Enderman.

Complete cake with Steve, zombies, skeletons, creepers, and Enderman.
The cake with all the characters.

And the final touch was placing the candle on the single dirt block at the top. The kids at the party all loved the cake. I am really happy with how it turned out.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Recipes for my CSA veggies

We have bought a 1/2 share in a CSA for the past couple of years. Getting a bag of veggies each week has been a good way for us to eat more veggies plus try ones we otherwise wouldn't. Of course, the downside is we get some veggies we don't care for. And we have to find ways to prepare everything!

I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes.

Beets: I like to roast beets. I had no idea I liked roasted beets until I tried them. Wash and cut into chunks (bite-size or so is good). Place on foil in baking pan. Sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt. Pinch foil closed and bake at 400 for about an hour, until tender. 

Kale: I don't like kale. Hate it. The only way I will eat it is in soup. The two soups I've tried that work well are Zuppa Tuscana (recipe from and Pork, White Bean & Kale soup (recipe from Eating Well).

Jalapeño peppers: Bacon jalapeño poppers. Yummy! I use my friend Lisa's recipe, although I sometimes omit the scallions.

Berries: If we aren't going to eat them before they turn, jam is my go-to. I like these recipes from for Blackberry Jam and Strawberry Jam because I don't have to go buy pectin or can them. I just put them in the fridge and use them. 

Rhubarb: Rhubarb muffins (from The Rhubarb Compendium; I like the 7th recipe listed on this page). Or, if I have strawberries, Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler (recipe from Taste of Home). I should try jam sometime, because I love strawberry rhubarb jam. 

Basil: I chop the basil and freeze it in olive oil to use in sauces. Fill each compartment on an ice cube tray with chopped basil, cover with olive oil, freeze. Easy.

Tomatoes: I love BLTs, of course. Or even plain tomato sandwiches. Sometimes I substitute spinach for lettuce or add feta. When I have a LOT of tomatoes, I've been trying my hand at making sauce. Poach the tomatoes to remove skins, remove seeds and most of the liquid (squeezing works pretty well), then puree. Bring to boil in a pot, then simmer until it thickens. Add garlic, oregano, basil, onions, whatever. I cool the sauce, then put it in quart size freezer bags. Then I just thaw a bag when I make pasta. (Hint: green tomatoes will ripen if left on the counter or in a paper bag.)

Zucchini: My go-to for zucchini is Zucchini Bread. Of course, my recipe makes 2 loaves at a time, and I often have enough to make several batches, so I shred and freeze the zucchini to use all year. (Hint: my recipe, from, calls for 2 cups of shredded zucchini, so I freeze bags of 2 cups.) 

Turnips and Rutabagas: Well, I'm not crazy about these. This year I tried my hand at pasties. I don't have a recipe down yet, but this was actually not a bad way to eat these root vegetables.

Cabbage and Leeks: My friend Amanda passed along this recipe for Potato, Cabbage, Carrot and Leek soup that I tried this year. It was quite good paired with corned beef.

There are, of course, other recipes I've used. And the most popular way to eat cucumbers, green peppers, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower in our house is raw. I just put them out for snacks and they disappear. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer homework

I've noticed a trend in schools: assigning homework over the summer. Mostly this means tracking reading, journaling, summer reading lists.

I don't ever remember getting summer homework in school, so I'm not sure when this trend started. But I find it irritating.

I understand that the schools want kids to read over the summer. They are trying to prevent skill loss. That also seems to be the motivator behind so many 'balanced calendar' and year round schools, and the shortening of summer break.

But I contend that making reading homework can actually be counterproductive. Because reading, something that should be enjoyable, is becoming a chore. Homework is work.

Last year, we had to track reading minutes for both boys. The schools tracked reading minutes, with classroom goals. Some days, the boys wanted to play or draw or do something creative. And we had to make them stop so they could get their reading minutes.

For 1st grade, the teacher set a goal of 200 minutes per week. That's about 30 minutes every day. Not so bad. Except if even one day had 0 minutes it was pretty difficult to hit that goal. Which can be hard on a 6 year old.

(Oh yeah, these goals are for 5 and 6 year olds. Who aren't so good at tracking this stuff, meaning mom and dad are keeping track.)

Now, some days they were really into reading, especially with the right book. On those days, they would read for an hour or more. But other days they just weren't in the mood. And making them read made them dislike it.

This summer, I haven't used the charts to track reading minutes or books read. Looking at them, we maybe haven't hit the goals for each day, but have my boys been reading? Yes. Yes, they have.

Reading a Spongebob comic--on vacation!
They discovered a love of Spongebob and Angry Birds comics. They giggle at Shel Silverstein poems. They are in the midst of listening to Daddy read The Hobbit to them. And they are enthralled, waiting for the next chapter each night. They enjoy listening to audio books in the car, usually following along in the physical book. They discovered Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I find Dr. Seuss books strewn across their bedroom floor after hearing them laugh their way through Hop on PopThe Cat in the Hat; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; or Green Eggs and Ham.

Is it more important that they learn to love reading, learn to enjoy reading, or that they read a certain number of books for a certain number of minutes?

Now, there are kids who love the challenge of summer reading programs. And that's great. But I question the wisdom of making reading homework that has to be tracked, at least for new readers. Because I want my boys to want to read, not be forced to read.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A benign stranger

Last weekend the boys and I joined Chris at the Columbus (Indiana) Visitors Center, where he was participating in an outdoor, public practice with the Southern Indiana Pipes and Drums. While he played, the boys ran around and played. They made friends with two young girls who were also hanging around the plaza, chasing each other around a giant sculpture.

The other mom and I sat on the low wall, watching the kids, listening to the music.

"Do you see that man over there?" she suddenly asked me, nodding toward a man leaning against a wall watching the kids play. "He's watching the kids and it's making me nervous."

"He's probably enjoying watching them play," I said, with a shrug. There were several people hanging around, stopping to listen to the bagpipers as they passed by. Some would stop on the steps to the Bartholomew County Public Library, right next to the Visitors Center, where this particular man was leaning.

"I hope so," she said, obviously not reassured.

I didn't really think much about the man, as he seemed to just be enjoying the music and watching the kids chasing and laughing. How many women do the same with no one noticing, much less commenting?

Then the kids ran back across the plaza to chase around the sculpture again. Mom followed them, keeping a vigilant eye on her girls. And a few minutes later the 'suspicious' man walked across the plaza, past the sculpture, and stood on the corner just across from the sculpture.

I admit I paid some attention at that point. He was a middle aged man wearing sunglasses and a slouchy hat. The timing of his changing position was... interesting. I didn't think anything was actually going to happen, but that did make me just a little... worried isn't quite the right word, but aware. Yes, aware. I'm betting Mom had alarm bells ringing. I'm actually surprised she didn't gather her kids and leave immediately.

Maybe ten minutes later, a city bus stopped at the corner and the man got on. He was just waiting for a bus.

I refrained from saying anything to the other mom, but I hope she noticed. I hope she realized that he was just someone who happened to be there and was enjoying the day. I hope she realized, at least later when she could think back without the panic of immediacy, that most people are good, that most people are just going about their day, and that most people who smile as they watch kids are just enjoying watching the kids play.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

People visit Delware?

That's the first response a lot of people had to our plans to visit Delaware this summer. The answer is yes, people do visit Delaware. It was actually quite a nice place to go.

The boys were excited by the number of states we visited on the trip: Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Kentucky. Sunday we drove through Ohio, a snippet of West Virginia (Wheeling), and spent the night in Pennsylvania.

Entering Ohio.
Entering Pennsylvania.
Our next adventure was driving in the Appalachian mountains through Pennsylvania. Our route included driving through several mountains (four, if I remember correctly). This was the boys' first experience with mountains.

The Appalachians in Pennsylvania. 
More mountains.

A tunnel through the mountain.
This was the Tuscarora Mountain.

A lovely view.

On the way through Pennsylvania, we stopped in Hershey, PA and Hershey's Chocolate World.

Yum! A Hershey character looks good enough to eat.
Yes, tourist central, but chocolate!
 Not far away was a fun playground, aptly named Cocoa Castle, where the boys got to run around for a bit before getting back in the car. On the drive into Delaware, we took the back roads rather than the highway, touring through Lancaster County.

 After a night in Newark, DE, it was time for the reason I planned this trip: the Downton Abbey costume collection is a special exhibit at Winterthur this year.

A garden at Winterthur.
Gazebo in one of the gardens at Winterthur.
A picture in front of the Abbey.
Running under a bridge in the gardens.

Then it was on to Lewes, where we were planning to spend the bulk of this trip. We chose to drive into New Jersey (another state!) and take the ferry across Delaware Bay rather than the shorter but less interesting drive down the Delaware coast. The boys were quite disappointed there was no "Welcome to New Jersey" sign.

Delaware Bay from the bridge.
On the bridge over Delaware Bay.
Wil asked, as we were driving through New Jersey, why we couldn't just drive to Lewes. Ah, but then we got to the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. This was a trip of many firsts for the boys. Riding a ferry was one of them. They were a little confused until we drove on... then were able to get out of the car and climb on deck.

Our ferry, the Delaware.
First time on a ferry; first time on a boat.

Heading out of Cape May, NJ.
On Delaware Bay.

A beautiful day on Delaware Bay.
Our first sight of Delaware from the Bay.

Lewes, DE, from Delaware Bay.
Back in the car, ready to drive off.
We rented a condo in Lewes. We had a perfect location: right on the canal, just 2 or 3 blocks from the beach on Delaware Bay, about a 15 minute drive to Rehobeth Beach (on the Atlantic). Lewes is a charming town, much less 'touristy' than Rehobeth.

A gorgeous sunset from the balcony of our condo.

The boys enjoying the sunset.
Our view.

Chris enjoying the sunset and the view.
Last glimpse as the sun sets.
Wednesday was a hot, humid day, perfect for a trip to Rehobeth Beach. The boys had never seen the ocean, so the short drive past Cape Henlopen was in order. While Lewes is on Delaware Bay, Rehobeth is on the Atlantic.
It's the ocean!

And the tide is coming in!


If you stay near the water, a boat trip is required. There's a rule, I'm sure. We took a dolphin watching boat ride, a 3 hour tour.
There is also a pirate ship tour, apparently.
Our condo from the boat.

The boys on deck.
An osprey nest. The huge nests were everywhere!

Out past the lighthouse.
A dolphin feeding near the breakwater.

Chris lived in Annapolis, MD for 4 years, so we spent Thursday on a trip of reminiscence. The boys were a little bored, but Chris really enjoyed finding his old house and schools, and visiting the US Naval Academy.
Heading onto the Bay Bridge.
On the Bay Bridge.

Chesapeake Bay from the Bay Bridge.
The Bay Bridge is incredibly long and massive.

The Naval Academy from a scenic overlook.
A WWII memorial at the scenic overlook.

The WWII memorial is worth a stop.
One of the plaques.

Chris's old digs at the Academy.
The Maryland capitol building.

Chris's Annapolis middle school.
Chris's Annapolis high school.
The military academies are interesting to tour. I've now seen USAFA (US Air Force Academy) and USNA.

Touring the US Naval Academy.
Checking out a compass at USNA.

Bancroft Hall, the largest single dormitory in the world.
Playing hide & seek around Tecumseh.

A view from the Yard.
Walking in the Yard.
Leaving the US Naval Academy, we passed this sculpture. The boys got down on the ground to 'listen' with the statue children. It's the Kinta Kunte-Alex Haley Memorial.

Joining the 'children' for a story.
An unassuming memorial.
Even though it's a fairly small town, there are things to see in Lewes.

View of the Lightship Overfalls from the condo at night.
View of the canal at night.

Fisherman's Wharf, where the dolphin tour launched.
A nautical themed playground across the canal.

On top of a 'boat'.
Climbing the 'lighthouse' was the best part!
One of the really neat things in Lewes is the Lightship Overfalls. Lightships used to be used in areas that needed lighthouses but were not on land. The history of this ship is quite interesting. (I recommend clicking the link above and reading about it.)

The Lightship Overfalls.
A propeller from the Lightship Overfalls.

Anchor from the Lightship Overfalls.
Trying to lift the anchor chain.

Pretending to steer the ship.
Full ahead! No! Full stop!
A trip to the Lewes beach, on Delaware Bay, was just a few blocks from the condo. I didn't expect to find blooming cacti on the sand dunes.

A cactus blooming on the sand dunes.
Horseshoe crabs really are peculiar looking.

Crossing the sand dunes to the beach.
I found a peaceful moment one morning, before the boys were awake, to have breakfast on the balcony and enjoy the quiet.

But then it was time to head home. Driving through the Appalachians of western Maryland and West Virginia was lovely. 

The view at a stoplight in Maryland.
Picnicking at a rest stop in western Maryland.

A man-made mountain pass.
The cut.

Loveliness as far as the eye can see.
For our last night of vacation, we chose to treat ourselves at the Blennerhassett Hotel, a historic hotel in Parkersburg, WV. It was built in 1889 and is quite luxurious. I even opted for a special treat: a plate of chocolate chip cookies was waiting for us when we arrived. If you ever have occasion to spend a night in Parkersburg, splurge on the Blennerhassett.
Our room at the Blennerhasset Hotel.
A treat waiting for us.
Then it was on to home.

A drive through southern Ohio.
And a spit of Kentucky around Cincinnati.

And finally back in Indiana.