Nothing signifies the arrival of spring in the District of Columbia quite like the blooming of the cherry blossom trees. Having returned to Virginia on Wednesday, we took the Metro orange line into the District to the Smithsonian Station.
From there it was short walk to the Tidal Basin and the Cherry Tree Festival complete with blooms and petal showers! This is the final weekend, but visiting during the week it was un-crowded and in FULL BLOOM!
The first cherry trees were a gift from the Mayor Yuko Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city of Washington, DC. The Mayor donated the first trees to enhance the growing friendship between the US and Japan. Of the original trees only a few remain but a lot more that have been added over time around the Basin providing LOTS of color and blossoms.
Occasionally there were showers of blossoms as the breeze picked up and moved the petals around.
While the overall target date for the Cherry Blossom Festival is set each year, when they actually bloom is anyone’s guess. We were incredibly lucky to return to Virginia and have the opportunity to see these flowers in full bloom – rain is expected on Monday and I expect that will wash away any that remain.
We walked completely around the Tidal Basin, passed the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial before returning to the Metro for our train home. All in all we completed a 4-mile walk!
Ok, it’s been a while but we finally got to a really good restaurant here in Los Angeles.
Providence has been a local hot spot since it opened some 10 years ago and the number one restaurant in town for a number of years (slipped to #2 just this year). We had made a reservation for Friday, the only day of the week they have a lunch serving, to continue the celebration of Jessie’s birthday. Arriving at our appointed time (noon) we entered a dimly lit, with no real windows seating area and a color scheme that can best described as stormy, we took our seats and looked around (non of our party had been here previously). Adorning the walls and ceilings were fish nets (made from paper I think) hanging from the ceiling with barnacles going up the walls and soft glass panels on either side giving the lighting scheme and settled in.
We of course started of with a glass of wine – there is an extensive wine list, many different things available by the glass, and reviewed the dining options. There was various individual items we could have had but well felt the seasonal tasting menu (four course) would meet our needs nicely.
While the corkage fee was high (50 bucks!) we choose to open the bottle of 2006 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Louise I had brought for our enjoyment.
The entire experience was wonderful from first to last. This is really a high-end seafood restaurant and they certainly lived up to this reputation. After a very pleasurable 3 hours (about the right time for a really good meal) we left and headed home.
Forty years ago, we moved from Bethlehem Pennsylvania to Alhambra California. Since that time, we have left the state many times but never for as long as this past “gap year adventure”. We are now back in Alhambra, staying with some friends, and enjoying the sunshine, warm breezes and generally beautiful weather. This is a really nice change from the 20’s, 30’s and 40s we have had since about Mid December.
We flew from our east coast base, Springfield VA, into Los Angeles March 14th. We left Springfield where the high was low 40’s and we arrived in Los Angeles where the low was upper 40’s. What a difference 3,000 miles makes! Since coming to LA we have been taking care of medical appointments for general health, knees, eyes, teeth, etc.,
visiting our wine – we have a storage locker in Glendale where a LOT of wine is resting waiting for us to open a bottle or dozens –
going to restaurants we have enjoyed in the past, visiting with friends we have missed and in general relaxing and having an enjoyable time.
We arrived in town soon enough to visit with winemakers Denise and Kirk of WesMar Wines
from Sebastopol in the Russian River area wine region. This included having a lovely dinner at Bacchus Kitchen and catching up. The following day was the Family Wine Makers Tasting, which we attended. The dinner was the highlight – the tasting the following day not so much. The tasting featured some 80 or more different wineries but nothing that really stood out as being special – with the except of WesMar of course.
Several years ago, we discovered that our Doctor, Garry, had theatre tickets the same night as we did – and we would try and coordinate getting together prior to the play to have dinner. Thus started a friendship outside of the doctor – patient relationship that continued once he retired (3 years ago) and we had the joy of hooking up with him this trip! He travels more than we do – he was heading to Madagascar when we connected a year ago, since then he has been to Columbia (the country of) and several exotic places. He is an avid “birder” and both track’s them in his logbook and also takes wonderful pictures of many.
One of Janeen’s things she has missed the most is visiting and volunteering at the Huntington Library and Gardens. For the last 5 or 6 years she has been a docent in the Herb Garden and has loved the experience. She has already visited once since we got back but will be going a couple more times in the next week or so.
So, while there are not a lot of pictures to share, we are continuing our adventure. In a couple of weeks, we fly back to Virginia where we will stick around for a couple of weeks to celebrate birthdays of Terri and Jason and then head back to Illinois to visit with Janeen’s dad. After that the current plan is to head SOUTH towards Georgia! Only time will tell what actually happens, but stay tuned, more adventures to report on as we move along.
Over the last several weeks we were in Macomb Illinois primarily working to get Janeen’s dad into a good living arrangement. For the last 10 years he has been living in a Senior Independent Living place that allowed him to do things on his own and they provided meals and various room services (laundry, cleaning etc). However, after experiencing a couple of falls in the last 6 months a higher level of care was needed. So, much of our time was getting him situated into the ‘right’ spot which has levels of assisted living. The more active and independent you are the less they have to provide support. Right now, Harold needs added assistance and they can provide it. As his strength improves he can be more independent but still have resources available if he needs them.
After getting him situated we were able to celebrate his 101st birthday. Friends and family shared the time with him.
Once we got Harold all situated it was time for us to return to Virginia to see our granddaughter, and pack for our upcoming trip to California! Next Wednesday, the 14th we fly into LAX and stay with friends for 4 weeks. Visiting close friends we have missed over the last 9 months (it has been since late June of last year when we were last in Los Angeles) , visit various doctors and make sure we are still OK to continue this traveling adventure appointments, eating at some of our favorite restaurants, visiting the Huntington Library and Gardens and of course collecting several cases of wine to bring back with us from our storage spot in Glendale.
We are still in Macomb Illinois. Macomb is a city and the county seat of McDonogh County, Illinois. It has a classic 19th century Courthouse on The Square, and a Carnegie Library that has been expanded using the
original architecture design. Situated in western Illinois, southwest of Galesburg the city is about 75 miles southwest of Peoria and 77 miles south of the Quad Cities. It is also about equidistant west from Peoria and Springfield. A special census held in 2014 placed the city’s population at 21,516. Macomb is the home of Western Illinois University “Leathernecks” the mascot bulldog and purple and gold decorate the town. There are also at least seven senior accommodations, some like Everly House (where we are staying) are Independent Senior Living, and others like Wesley Village Independent Living through assisted living and nursing/rehabilitation.
One of the things we have now remembered, living in SNOW isn’t the most fun. We left eastern Pennsylvania some 40 years ago and have not really even visited SNOW since that time.
We were in Macomb maybe a day or two and 3 inches of snow arrived followed by COLD…Most days not getting above freezing. We are now in a warm spell, high of 40! Snow can be really beautiful but damn, it’s COLD and WET.
Janeen’s Dad spent thirteen days at a Rehab facility where he was to get some rehab after a fall. This was NOT a good spot and after almost 2 weeks, Janeen got him admitted to the Hospital. Now in a different assisted place he is starting rehab again hoping to improve his overall condition. None of this is easy for a man who is going to be 101 on March 5th. Getting old is NOT for the faint of heart that’s for sure.
During the day, while Janeen is assisting her dad, David gets to explore the city of Macomb – and have coffee at the one ‘coffee shop’ in town.
Upside, they have good coffee and free Wi-Fi and is connected to a wine shop right next door!
This weekend is the Western Illinois University Jazz festival – while the title seems great it is really a showcase for high school and college groups no names of note participate (damn). Not likely we will make it there as the Lees of Virginia, Terri, Katie Beth, and Jason will be arriving for a Presidents Day weekend visit to see Grandpa Harold and it will be nice to have them here for a few days.
So, looking forward, still trying to figure out a time in March to get to Los Angeles and now booked for a weekend at Thomas Jefferson’s place, Monticello in June. It seems the friend who is getting married in September is a Jefferson relative and they have a “decedents” weekend and he has invited us to join him. His wedding, which I thought was going to be in Las Vegas in September, is actually going to be in Santa Barbara so we will be there in September. After ta visit to LA in March our hope is to begin touring along the east coast – hitting all those places we have read about over the years but have never visited – Savannah, Charleston, and other spots in the “south” and head North ultimately visiting in Bethlehem PA, NYC, Boston and getting up to Canada to Prince Edward Island. December will find us flying to Paris for Christmas and New Years with the Lees’ of Virginia to share the holidays with Ryan and Chris (again).
Still not sure if we will continue to rent our home in Alhambra or have it available should we want to stop all of this travel. So stay tuned as we move along this journey.
Thus begins the USA return adventure. The Wandering Lees basked in the family love in Springfield, Virginia and went about establishing the bi-coastal identity. No more searching out a laundry mat, a reservation for a bed, or a Metro pass.
Our Mercedes Blu was reunited with us at Mercedes of Arlington, shiny clean and ready for her first US checkup. We are not enthralled with the voice of the GyPSy, but she works. However, the touch pad application did not. So, MercyBlu had to go in for a check up after Eduardo diagnosed her needs. She gets a free bath each visit.
Janeen found her color fix for her hair, and a new coat of “wet” (Katie’s description) for her nails. David found a podiatrist to treat his plantar faciitis (now has a bedtime boot) Janeen signed up with Curves of Falls Church, David began classes at Gold’s Gym . We reconnected with Linda & Bob of Falls Church and Peggy & Mario of Maryland
The Virginia Lees decided to begin adoption negotiations for the white Prius that was fostered with them while D& J went to Europe. GPa & GMa are now card-carrying daycare pickup agents at Cody Daycare near Pentagon (Katie likes the reading light option in MercyBlu near her car seat).
We were intending to leave for Macomb, Illinois on February 7, but a January 26 call from Macomb Hospital put us on the road Saturday 27. Harold, Janeen’s dad, is recovering in assisted living from infection from an infected tooth and weakness caused by his COPE cough. We are staying at Dad’s home, Everly House, and visiting him daily to help him meet his goal of being mobile enough to return home. This included bundling him into MercyBlu on Tuesday 30th and transporting him to the oral surgeon appointment to get the offending tooth removed, then transporting him back to his bed at the assisted living facility, Heartland. His next-door neighbor, Bill, at Everly House has been recuperating since November at Heartland, and serendipitously, they are roommates at Heartland. We have set aside February to help Dad meet his goal, if possible, of returning to Everly for his 101 birthday on March 5.
Beyond that we are wide open with the only thing on our calendar a wedding in Las Vegas in September. There are some thoughts about flying to the West Coast and visiting friends, drinking some of our wine in storage there and making various doctor appointments but as yet that is still in the planning stages waiting for Harold’s recovery to be confirmed.