Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain-Palin: Surprise!

It's funny - this morning Peter and I were talking about the V.P. candidates, and I told him that McCain had to choose a woman. When I heard that Romney and Pawlenty were out of the running, I was pretty sure he was going to do it too. It's a smart strategic choice to choose a woman; instantly his ticket becomes a historic one if they win, which puts the Republican ticket more on par with the Democratic ticket.

I just watched Sarah Palin speak at the announcement of her being "the chosen one," and I like her. (I'd never even heard of her before today.) She's the first-term Governor of Alaska, and before that she was a mayor. She's the mother of five children, including a baby boy just born in April. I like the way she talks and looks--she seems very familiar to me and probably to many other women in the country. She seems smart, confident, and charismatic. One of her nicknames is "Sarah Barracuda" because of her tenacity and fearlessness.

I think she's going to get pounded for lack of experience, particularly with foreign policy, but McCain balances that. In the end, I think choosing a woman as his running mate is going to help McCain's chances of winning. Condi Rice, who has been my choice for awhile, would be better in many ways, but I'm sure her ties to the unpopular Bush administration were too much of a liability.

A few other quick things:
  • I noticed that McCain looked a little uncomfortable as Palin spoke today. If he was, I wonder why, and I wonder how he really feels about her as his choice?
  • I hope that if McCain wins the election, he'll appoint Mitt Romney to his Cabinet or to another important federal position that will utilize Romney's vast skills. Then he'll have a better chance to run again in the years to come. I still think he would be the best president for this country out of just about anyone.
  • I thought Obama did a very good job delivering his nomination acceptance speech last night. He's one of the best speakers I've ever seen (as long as he has a teleprompter, that is). It was all a bit of a spectacle with the football stadium and fireworks, but then I thought, "He's the first black candidate for President. This is a proud moment for all Americans, independent of where they stand politically. Bring on the fireworks!"
  • I still think Obama will win in November, but that it's going to be a closer race than I originally thought. There are things I like and hate about each candidate, so I'm still undecided. I'll be following the race closely for the next two months so that I can make an informed choice, if I end up voting for either of them. I'm more likely to vote for McCain at this point, but that is subject to change.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Still August...

-So why have I been waking up cold in the mornings?
-Why am I wearing jeans and a longsleeve shirt today instead of my customary summer outfit of skirt and t-shirt?
-Why have I been drinking cocoa at night?
-Why did I ask Peter last evening, "Should we turn the heat on?"
-Why did I have to bring the floor plant on our patio indoors last night?
-Why have I been wearing my cool-weather pj's to bed?
-Why are my feet cold right now?
-Why am I currently wearing my cozy L.L.Bean fleece jacket, which is usually reserved for crisp fall and spring days and cold winter days?

I guess nobody told Mother Nature this year that it's still August. This is supposed to be the hottest month of the year, but there hasn't been one day that has hit 90 degrees. Some people like that, but I really enjoy the summer warmth. Now we're having a premature fall with cold nights and cold mornings and mild temperatures during the day. While the daytime weather has been very pleasant, I still prefer it warmer. We have months of cold ahead of us, so I'd rather the heat stick around for as long as possible. Maybe it's just a fluke and we'll have a nice warm Indian summer in September and October to make up for it. In the meantime, I'm going to go put some socks on these cold feet of mine...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Darcie's Wedding

On Friday, August 15th, Peter and I drove down to New York City for our friend Darcie's temple marriage. Darcie was my visiting teacher when I lived in New Jersey. We lived near each other, and we became quite close. When I had stopped working after I became pregnant with John, I went over and got her daughter McKenzie on the bus in the mornings after she left for work. She threw me a lovely surprise baby shower and did many other kind and generous things for me during the years that we lived there.

Darcie married Bill Caycho, a man from the ward who's a really nice guy. It was good to see them so happy together on their wedding day. And Darcie was beautiful, as always.

Being back in New York again was wonderful! It's been nearly four years since I was last there, and I used to go a lot, so I sure have missed it. We drove in and parked in a garage between the temple and Central Park. The Manhattan Temple is breathtakingly beautiful inside. I've been a few times before, but I had forgotten just how gorgeous it is. To think that right outside are the busy streets of Manhattan! You'd never know it in there; it's so peaceful and quiet. I felt very close to the Spirit and to the Savior there, and I was so glad that Darcie and Bill invited us to be there with them. It was the first time Peter and I have ever been to a sealing ceremony, other than our own.

We were in the temple district when the Manhattan Temple was dedicated in 2004. We went to the Open House and to a dedication session broadcast at our stake center. We also got to be part of the multi-stake youth jubilee celebration with President Hinckley at Radio City Music Hall, which was awesome. There's a board behind me in this picture because some remodeling work is being done in the back lobby.
After the sealing ceremony was finished came the "fun" part: driving out of the city and into New Jersey. Can you say Friday afternoon congestion and bad signs?? While Peter tried to find the Lincoln Tunnel, I snapped some pictures of the old familiar streets from the backseat, where I was laid out dealing with my own congestion. (Darn cold!) I miss taxi rides, and I want to do one of these Duck Tours. It's a great way to see the whole city. I know midtown and uptown quite well, but downtown Manhattan is still pretty much a mystery to me.

The Joker is in Gotham!

The reception was that evening back in New Jersey, not far from where we used to live. It was so nice to see many old friends from our old ward. I miss it there so much, even though I'm very happy here in Connecticut. Sometimes I wish I could live in a couple of places at the same time. We drove by our old condo complex and some of our old haunts on the way back to our hotel, and it made me feel very nostalgic for the past.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, I was coming down sick with a nasty cold, so I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I wanted to get at the reception, and the ones I did get are not that great. I love weddings and I usually take lots of pictures at them, but this time I had to leave early because I felt so sick. Darn it all! Oh well. We had a really nice time at the reception and the sealing. I'm so happy for Darcie and Bill and their new life together!

The newlyweds during their first dance.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cape Cod Vacation, Part 2 of 2

Here's how we spent the final days of our vacation two weeks ago...

Thursday, August 7th
Three new arrivals came to visit for two days and a night: my sister Jennifer, her daughter Hayley, and Hayley's friend Emily, who we've known since she and Hayley were young kids. We all went to Hyannis, the next town over from ours, famous for being home to one of the Kennedy family compounds. It has a really nice main street with unique shops and restaurants and outdoor cafes. We also went on a short tour at the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory to see how potato chips are made, and we got free little bags of chips at the end. Yum! Free, freshly made chips are always good!

The Cape has playgrounds too...

Hanging out in Hyannis. This would have been a nice family picture if only Peter weren't hiding behind John's head!

The flowers in front of the library were lovely.
I like classic, authentic Cape Cod clapboard houses and buildings.

Hayley and John in the car

In the evening, my mom, Jennifer, and I went out and did the coolest thing and by far my most favorite thing of the whole week. We went to the immaculately maintained old town of Barnstable for a Haunted History Tour. It was excellent! I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed it. It was from about 7:00 to 9:30 p.m., and it was led by members of the Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society ( In fact, the man who led the tour is good friends with Jason from one of my favorite shows, Ghost Hunters. The tour was the perfect blend of history and actual ghost stories, which makes sense, since hauntings are usually intertwined with the history of the place where the haunting occurs. We had a few very interesting experiences. I won't go into them here, but suffice it to say that I was more spooked than I've been in a long time! I'm definitely planning on doing this again next year!

The tour guide dressed in a colonial cape and hat. This was the first stop. This place is haunted! Among other things, the lights go on and off at random. The people who work there have actually seen the light switch flip up and down on its own.

The Crocker Tavern House, which dates back to the 1700s. This house is now in operation as a vacation rental, which is cool, but I'd be nervous to stay here given the weird things that happen in the house to this very day.

A creepy graveyard we spent some time in, haunted by two spirits. One is a little girl (we saw her grave) and the other is a big, dark, brooding type of entity that frightens even some professional paranormal researchers.
I wish I had more pictures, but it got dark out. There were several stops, and the last place we walked to was "The House of Eleven Ghosts," the Cape's most haunted house. It was really creepy, and really cool.

Friday, August 8th
We spent most of the day at Provincetown, which is up at the tip of the Cape. It's where the Mayflower first landed before landing for good at Plymouth. P-Town, as it's known, is a really unique place. It has tons of cool shops, and it's a really liberal, alternative kind of town despite being so old and historic. The thing that makes it really distinctive is that it's become a mecca for the gay community, which makes for some rather interesting sightseeing.

Hayley and John at a lookout point in Provincetown.

The view was so beautiful! I like how you can see the shadows of the clouds on the trees.
Trees, sand dunes, ocean

I feel guilty looking at this picture. Poor John didn't have his sunglasses, and it was bright up there!

John wants down... we put him down

Another rocky beach, another opportunity to throw rocks in the water!
This looks more like a chunk of asphalt than a rock!

Jennifer and Mom

What would a summer outing be without ice cream? John ran around and frolicked without his shorts on in front of the Pilgrim Memorial. Hey, it's P-Town, so it's cool.
Jennifer, Emily, Hayley, and Mom
The Pilgrim Memorial tower

Can you spy John Howland and the Tilly names? Peter and John are their direct descendants.
Saturday, August 9th
My mom and I went out for a nice morning drive through some of the nearby towns. We went to the Sydenstricker Gallery ( in Brewster, where she bought me a nice dish to add to my collection for my birthday.

When we got home, it was time to pack up, clean the house, and go. I was sad to leave, for two reasons. One, it was the end of vacation. Two, it was our last time in the house we've stayed at for the past four years. It's owned by friends of ours from my old ward in Mass., and they just sold it because they're moving to Utah. I'm going to miss it. We've had a lot of fun times there over the years, and it had a good location on the Cape and near the beach, and it had a wonderful hammock in the backyard that we all fought over. Next summer, we'll find another house to rent and maybe try out a new town, until someday we can afford to buy our own house on the Cape. Now that would be a dream come true! (Hint, hint for future birthday ideas, Peter!)

The temptation of jumping on a just-made bed was just too great...

Farewell, living room and kitchen
I'm going to miss this cute little house!

Peter's favorite place

Johnny and I out at lunch before leaving
Cape Cod is a wonderful summer vacation spot, and we had a great week there!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama-Biden: First Impressions

I think Obama's choice of Senator Joseph Biden for his running mate is a good one. Biden has a lot of experience in politics, particulary in international matters, which Obama needs. In short, Biden is older, he's white, he's from the East Coast, and he's experienced, which balances the ticket pretty nicely. I wasn't particularly impressed with him when he was running for President, but I can't argue with what seems to be his good experience. I'll be curious to find out more about him in the coming weeks and months leading up to the election. I'm still not planning on voting for Obama, but having Biden on there makes me a little bit more likely to, and if/when Obama does win, maybe I'll feel better about it with Biden as the Vice President.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cape Cod Vacation, Part 1 of 2

We went on our annual vacation to Cape Cod from August 2nd to 9th. As always, we had a very nice week there. It was our fourth year in a row vacationing at the Cape. We started doing it when John was a cute, chubby little 5-month-old baby and we had to drive all the way up from New Jersey. It's a place that we love, and I can't wait to go back again next year.

Saturday, August 2nd
We got a late start because we spent the morning picking up my new car at the dealership, something that Peter surprised me with just the night before. Then we had to go home and load it up with our things. It's much easier to pack up an SUV than a sedan! I was so happy with the Highlander that I didn't even care that we were running as late as we were and that we totally got stuck in traffic headed into the Cape. Hey, just more time to bond with my new friend.

Sunday, August 3rd
We went to church in the morning at the branch on the Cape, which was really nice. Then we spent a pleasant, peaceful day at home, resting, reading, and napping. The weather was gorgeous. Later in the day, we walked to the beach, which is only about five minutes down the road. John loves to throw rocks in the water, so he had a blast doing that.

Getting ready to launch a rock into the ocean. This kid has a pretty good arm!

My little Baywatch hunk, running along the beach

My sister Elizabeth and her boyfriend Justin stayed with us over the weekend. John and Justin are good buddies, and John was sad when Justin had to leave.

Monday, August 4th
We went up to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire for the day. Peter and I had been there in June, and my family used to go when we were younger. Because of the SUV, we were all able to fit into one car, which was very convenient! (It was me, Peter, John, my mom, Elizabeth, and my neice Hayley, who we picked up at her house.) It was a fun day!

John was sleepy when we arrived, so he wasn't too into the rides until later on after dinner, when he got a second wind and had a lot more fun. These pictures are taken earlier when he was tired. I couldn't take more pictures later because my camera's battery died.

I like this picture of Peter and John relaxing on the grass.

What the heck?! We traveled all that way and spent all that money, and he has the most fun running around and around this tree. It figures!
Tuesday, August 5th
We went out to breakfast with my mom and Elizabeth at The Pancake Man, a favorite place of my family's. I got dee-lish French Toast topped with strawberries and whipped cream. In the afternoon we went to the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis (we go there at least once every vacation), where John actually liked the carousel this year. Last year, he hated it and screamed and cried when I took him on it. I wish I had a picture of him on it this year, but I hadn't recharged my camera battery yet, so I have no pictures of this day. Peter and I went out to dinner in the evening and we had a nice time. The place we went had really good clam chowder and lobster, and good dessert too.

Wednesday, August 6th
Today we drove up to Boston and went to the Science Museum. It was a good day to do it because the weather was cool and rainy. The Science Museum was fantastic and we really enjoyed it. Its only downside was the big crowds, which is typical of many things in Boston. But the Museum is huge, so the crowds didn't seem as bad as they really were (except at lunchtime, which was a complete zoo!).

Fun with magnets

John found his beloved planets!

He wanted to climb right up on this bear. It's funny how you can see my mom on the right rushing over to stop him from doing so!

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., had a really nice, big temporary exhibit at the museum of all sorts of awesome baseball memorabilia.
Are we looking at a future baseball star here? I hope so!
One big grasshopper...

A nice view of Boston from where we were parked at the Museum.

That evening, back on the Cape, Peter and I went out to dinner and a movie. We saw The Dark Knight, which was very good.

Stay tuned for the rest of the week, which I'll be posting soon. It involves the coolest thing I've probably ever done on the Cape, as well as one, uh, interesting town that we went to!