Saturday, August 19, 2006

Michael's graduation

Today our son Michael graduated today from the Human Services Program at Western Washington University with his Bachelor of Arts degree.

He wasn’t sure he wanted to walk down the aisle in a cap and gown but the look on my face, a little pleading, and he gave in.  He did admit several weeks ago that he was glad I had pushed him to go through the ceremony but told me I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone or remind him that he said this.  Shhh……  When he arrived today and found all his classmates from his department and his professors his smile became wider as he greeted and hugged everyone he knew.

My husband Larry is the former Dean of Education at WWU and after serving in another capacity as an administrator for WWU he has returned as a full professor.  So to surprise Michael he arranged to walk in his cap and gown with the other professors to honor Michael and his achievements.  Michael and Larry have a special bond.  Michael was saying two and three syllable words almost as soon as he got past the basic momma and no words as a toddler.  So Michael and Larry have these great discussions using the English language to its fullest.   Written class papers and term papers were always interesting when Michael asked Larry to read his work, give his opinion, and then the discussions began.  

Michael worked part time like a lot of students while going to school.  He worried about what life would be like after school was over, or least until he goes back to work on his masters.  He thinks about what life will bring him and what he can give back to others.  The impact he makes on others is the friendship he offers to all he meets, his commitment to helping others in need, and his need to reach out and make the world a better place.

As the proud mom I took lots of pictures to send to family and friends who could not be with us as we celebrated another milestone in Michael’s life journey.  

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Vegas...the three day buffet

I know the slogan is “what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas,” but it was so much fun I can’t not write about it.

We went on our short vacation with Cis and Mike who made all the plans and were going to be our personal tour guides.

Flying in to Vegas at night with all the twinkling lights looks a little like Disney World for adults x 1000.  We picked up our rental car and were off to New York New York the hotel.  Kelly arrived straight from her job at Dan Marino’s Restaurant inside Hooters Hotel and Casino with four larger servings of tomato bisque soup.  The last meal we had was a drive through McDonalds and the peanuts you get on the airplane, although Mike talked his way into several airplane rows worth of peanuts.

Tuesday we had breakfast in the NY NY then strolled through the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay sightseeing and marveling at the opulence of the hotels and casinos.  Kelly joined us for a buffet lunch at the Paris hotel and casino which had too many choices and not enough time to sample all the wonderful food.  Nap time for the boys and pool side lounging for Cis and me in the warm summer sun.  Rested, sunned, and a change of clothes found us heading off to the Fremont Street Experience with overhead graphics and sound system to enhance the show.  We arrived just in time to watch the first show and then wandered off to the Golden Gate for their famous shrimp cocktails and a drink where Bob the piano man played favorites from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.  When he found out we were actually listening to him play he took our request for Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire and made that baby grand piano work for him and by the time we left the crowd was taking notice of the music. We walked out just in time to see a second overhead light show with an entirely different theme.  We drove back to Hooters Hotel and Casino where Kelly’s friend Tony and his band were playing in the martini bar.  We had a nightcap listening to the music and were off to our rooms for sleep.  

Wednesday morning Cis and Mike delivered hot coffee and my favorite mocha to our room with pastries for breakfast.  The phrase of the day was “not so much” but of course that didn’t hold true.  Cis had found a really fun adventure called “The Drive” for Mike and Larry to try out.  For the cost of $10.00 each person you can drive your choice of several cars including corvettes and Hummers.  Larry and Mike both decided to drive a Hummer once around the track and a corvette for two laps.  Mike, Cis and I sat in the back of the Hummer with Larry driving and an instructor up front to give directions on what not to do.  What looked like a small little mound standing there while we were waiting to get into the vehicle didn’t look quite the same in the vehicle on a 60% slope hanging by your seatbelt.  To look out the Hummer window you were sure we were going to tip over and the instructor just kept saying, “You’re doing fine,” to Larry.  Up a small incline that threw you back against your seat, a stop at the top that left you wondering if we were floating in air, and then we went down, this time hanging forward in our seatbelts that kept us from falling forward.  A quick fast trip around the off road lap and then it was Mike’s turn at the wheel and we got to experience it all over again.  The guys then drove their choice of corvettes for two laps around the race course style speedway.  This has to be the best $10.00 spent in Vegas and all because Cis had found this wonderful little excursion behind the Sahara Hotel.  We drove to Caesars Palace and wandered through the casino shops and watched the Forum Shops pool show before heading off to meet Kelly at the Bellagio Hotel for their buffet lunch.  I thought yesterday’s feast was more than I could image but today’s banquet was even better;  Remember that phrase of the day “not so much?” Well it flew out the door.  Cis and Mike have friends in Henderson and we were invited for drinks and hors dourves.   We finished off the evening watching the Les Follies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel.  

Cis and Mike delivered coffee and goodies again Thursday morning and the news that our country was on a terror alert.  We repacked our bags to eliminate all those things we might normally carry in a bag but now were restricted, like lotion, over the counter medicines, etc.  The back up plan if we couldn’t make our plane tonight was to stay with Kelly, or Cis and Mike’s friends, or get a room at Hooters if they had any available.  Since our plane didn’t leave until 10:30 PM, we headed off to lunch.  You guessed it:  A buffet feast at the Rio which was good but after the Bellagio any place would have a hard time measuring up.   We strolled through the Wynn and then watched the dolphins at the Mirage where we also toured the secret gardens and pulled up chairs to relax in the shade and warmth with a cold drink.  We stopped for an appetizer before heading off to the airport and the unknown wait.  Surprisingly we spent no more time than usual getting our tickets but were told we had an hour wait to get through security.  A nice gentleman at security who was trying to hurry the lines along put us in the first class line and we bypassed the wait.  I also beep when I go through security because I won’t take off my jewelry and the rivets on my jeans always set it off.  No problem.  Then I saw my carry on bag was going to be searched.  I had a magazine, a protein bar, and Larry’s medicine in the bag; what could be wrong?  Well seems like I forget to look under my magazine and I would have tossed the travel size bottle of hand sanitizer that has been in the bag for a year.  I apologized as they dumped the bottle and we were on our way.

Buffet (buh-FAY) .  This is the word of the trip.  Las Vegas itself is a buffet where tourists help themselves to food and fun.   And the motto seems to be, “more is better.”

Monday, August 07, 2006

We won....2007 WA State HOG Rally

In 2001 my husband Larry and I attended Daytona Bike Week in Florida.  I had never seen so many motorcycles in one place before and wished out loud that someday Bellingham would have an event that would fill the town with Harleys.  I knew our little town would never host 500,000 bikes but I still dreamed of how to make it all come true.

In 2005 we had a couple of hundred bikes registered for the inaugural Fred Pazaski ride and the museum motorcycle show called “the good, the bad, and the custom.”  It was fun but I felt it was just a warm up.

Mike and Dick plotted, planned, and made a bid in 2005 for the 2006 state rally. We didn’t get it, but were encouraged to return this year and put in a proposal for the 2007 state rally.  

Mike our director and Larry representing Harley-Davidson of Bellingham gave their best shot at this years rally planning session.

The drum roll……

Mt. Baker Chapter will proudly host the 2007 WA State HOG rally.  The date and details will follow.  It’s going to be a busy year for our members and so much fun.  Everyone has ideas and enthusiasm.  It’s going to be a party to remember.

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