Friday, September 26, 2008

The Spirit of Moose Pass

Since I recently got a new toy, it was only fair that John should get something that he had been wanting for a long, long time. We have many model trains of the Alaska Railroad, but the one locomotive that we did not have was the SD-70 Mac. We happened upon some while on EBay one night and watched for a while. Well, it's always good to see what the going retail pricing is, too often I see things on EBay sold for much more than you could buy the item for outright. This was the case with this locomotive. I was able to find our choice of numbering scheme and buy it outright. We wanted "Spirit of Moose Pass, #4003".

The SD-70 Mac's are the workhorses of the Alaskan Railroad. The locomotives are named for stops along the railroad. Moose Pass is a small town in Alaska.

We haven't run our new locomotive yet, but maybe I'll be able to get a small loop up soon, just to see it go.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Queen Autumn

Autumn robes the trees
In fiery reds and golds
Signaling her reign

Today is the first day of my favorite season - Autumn. My favorite because the weather (at least where I live) is, in my opinion, the best at this time of year- nice warm days, cool nights, low humidity. It's also the time of year we usually go on vacation and so the memories of those past trips always come rushing back when the days start to get shorter. And since my daughter was born in the fall last year, there is a new reason for me to enjoy it.

Not to mention that the changing of the leaves is one of nature's most beautiful annual events. I could drive around leaf watching for days. Of course instead of driving, hiking is really the preferable mode of transport.

Enjoy the fall days and the changing of the leaves. These days are fleeting.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget

Please take a few moments out of your day today to remember the victims and heroes of 9/11/2001. May they be forever in our hearts.

Learn more about this 9/11 Remembrance flag here.

This is another 9/11 Remembrance flag. You can read about it's symbolism here.

I wanted to share two poems with you. The first one is below. The second was rather long, but if you are interested in reading it, you can find it here. It's titled "Out of the Blue" by Simon Armitage.

The Names
September 6, 2002
by poet laureate of the United States Billy Collins

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rehoboth Beach, DE ~ Part 3 ~ Some Day Trips

In my continuing saga of the 2008 Family Beach week at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, I have decided to write about a couple of little excursions we went on. The first being Cape Henlopen State Park.

Cape Henlopen State Park is in nearby Lewes, Delaware at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. It was just a short drive away. We drove over by ourselves, my parents met up with us a little later, and my brother Jerry biked over. There is a lot to see and do at Cape Henlopen, it's hard for me to know where to start. I guess I'll start where we did, at a World War II Observation Tower. Several of these towers were built along the coast during WWII to spot enemy ships. We were able to climb up one. There was a great view from the top, you could see out in all directions.

View from the Observation Tower. You can see another tower in the upper right of this picture.

Next we headed over the the Seaside Nature Center. Here there is a bike shed where you can borrow (i.e. FREE) a bike for a couple of hours to explore the park. There are also several fish tank exhibits inside. Lillian was fascinated watching the fish up close. From here we were off to do a little geocaching. This was the first time geocaching for my parents and brother, I think they enjoyed it. We had to walk through the frisbee golf course to find our treasure, so if you like frisbee golf, you could do that here too! Of course you can also go to the beach here as well. There is a beautiful bathhouse but the beach was quite crowded. We just took a look, for we were off to the old Fort Miles (another WWII area) and to climb up the 80 foot dune. This is the highest dune between Cape Hatteras and Cape Cod. There was a paved walkway along the Great Dune area so it was not hard to do with the stroller.

The guys with our geocaching find.

The view of Fort Miles from the Observation Tower.

The view while walking on the Great Dune.

Another little trip we took was to Nassau Valley Vineyards. This is Delaware's first farm winery. A farm winery is where the grapes are grown, wine produced, and wine sold, all at the same location. The winery had a self-guided tour which was not a tour so much as an exhibit, but it was an interesting look at the beginnings of this particular winery as well as some history on wine making. At the end of the exhibit, there was a tasting room and of course we had our tastings and bought a couple of bottles to enjoy later. As you can see from the photos, they have very picturesque grounds.

Next time, I'll give some restaurant reviews. You can read my earlier posts on our Rehoboth Beach trip: Family Fun at the Beach and Letterboxing.