Friday, September 13, 2013

Family Camping 2011 at Nehalem Bay, Oregon

Annual Family Camping Event at Nehalem Bay, Oregon

This post was from summer of 2011.  It's been sitting in draft mode forever.  I finally dotted the i's and crossed the t's, and here it is...

Just a couple of weekends ago, family and friends partook in the annual camping event.  This year it was held in Nehalem Bay State Park, located in the northern part of the Oregon coast.  During the camping event, we were blessed with great weather throughout the duration of camp -- starting with a few folks Thursday afternoon, most arriving throughout Friday, and everyone prepared to leave prior to noon Sunday.  We have held this event at this same location two times before.  Many of us have camped there also outside of the family camping event.  So the familiarity with the location, as well as knowing the expectations, made it a smooth running event.

We had about 80 participants this year; not one of the higher turnout, but it was well enjoyed by everyone, nonetheless.  As always, we had a great mix of family and friends attending, along with a few four-legged friends; an ever delightful feast of food for our meals and snacks; and enough variety of activities in the campground or nearby outside the camp to keep everyone busy.  The campground had plenty of shady spots to guard against the mid-day sun; adequate facilities, including free unlimited hot water supply for showers unlike a few campgrounds we had been to previously where a roll of quarters was necessary to get adequate hot water for showering; most of all, the park rangers were a bit more lenient in their enforcement of the 10PM quiet time. We even had a t-shirt giveaway for all the camp participants -- red shirts for the camp co-directors, purple shirts for planning committee members, and gray shirts for everyone else.

A lot of credit goes to the planning committee for the success of the event.  They took care of the reservations, coordination and planning, and the logistics.  I offer my appreciation to Mek and his top assistant, Grace, for all their hard work and leadership of the planning committee.

The following are a few pictures.  More photos may be viewed from my flickr page.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

Louvre Museum's Glass Pyramid Entrance

I have visited Paris many times.  I think the city is a "must see" when visiting Western Europe.  All my past visits of the city have been during summer months, when the weather is warmer and during the tourist high season.  I have always wondered what Paris is like in the cooler season, autumn or winter.  Several times I had tried to schedule a visit during non-summer times, but it never materialized.  I had the opportunity to visit Paris this past January, during the MLK holiday weekend.

The train fare from Frankfurt and the hotel rates were much lower than during the tourist season.  So a friend from work and I took advantage of it.  Little did we know that extreme winter weather were awaiting our visit.  It had been an overcast and cold day from our departure in Wiesbaden, and snow was forecasted.  Right off the bat, our train from Frankfurt was delayed and diverted, with unexpected train changes.  Instead of a direct non-stop from Frankfurt to Paris, we had a stop in Mannheim and another delay, and more waiting and a train change in Karlsruhe, Germany.  Instead of a noon arrival in Paris, it was a 5:30PM.

The delay and schedule changes were due to the heavy snow in France.  At our arrival in Paris, the streets were still manageable to walk on.  We were not going to allow the snow to ruin the trip.  After our hotel check in, it was too late to really go sightsee in snowy condition.  We found a nearby restaurant to have dinner, and called it a day.  It snowed quite a bit more overnight.  After walking around looking for a place to eat breakfast the next day, it became quite apparent that I did not bring the right type of shoes to walk around in.  The melted snow seeped thru my shoes and soon my entire feet and socks were soaked.  We still did the obligatory stop to view the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, went inside the Notre Dame Cathedral, walk most of the Champs Elysses, had a snack at a cafe at the Louvre Museum, and many other sites while walking around Paris.

It was still nice to see Paris during wintry conditions, even with cold feet and soggy socks.  I will have to schedule another visit of Paris in cooler season, but hopefully not with the extreme snow condition.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I'm Back...Yes, I Promise to Provide Regular Updates

A fellow blogger noticed recently that I hadn't posted in quite awhile.  And as indicated in my last blog post, I hadn't followed up in providing updated posts regularly.  This blog used to have at least one post a month, and at various times, I was providing 8-10 updates a month.  My move back to Seattle, the death of my father, and then my return to Germany precipitated a lot of my blog's lack of updates.  There were too many things going on and I just could not find time.  I can provide more excuses, but in reality, I didn't have the motivation or the drive to continue posting (at least during that time).

This blog was the window to allow family and friends updated on my life while thousands of miles away.  It was a way to share my experiences, tell my stories, and share pictures from past and present.  Typically and still a recluse, it was my way of opening my life to everyone.  I am the quiet type and usually reserved in sharing experiences verbally; sharing my stories in writing was a lot easier.

I still posts photos in my flickr account ( ) -- nearly 16,000 pictures loaded.  I still have thousands to upload.  I file the photos into sets so that viewers are able to manage poring through them.  I also have been utilizing instagram with a few family and friends.  But somehow, I have not kept up this blog.  A few family members recently have tried to get me to open a Facebook account.  The "recluse" in me drew the line as far as FB.  I did not want people knowing who's FB updates I have been reading, nor did I want them regularly reading my updates.  Instagram still has some controls that I can manage.  A blog is only updated as much as the writer wants.  

I also don't like imposing on people.  Readers and followers can read or view pictures in my blog, flickr account, or in instagram as they wish, with no conditions imposed.  I send notes once in a while reminding of the several sites I manage when I want to show them photo or post about them.  I know that some follow because they will let me know about a certain post or a photo that they have seen in my websites.

Before this blog, I would send a long e-mail every couple of months or so to provide updates.  The e-mails would serve as "catching them up" of what I was doing overseas, work and personal, and would add a bit of encouragement and motivation to the younger ones in the family and that they were always in my thoughts.  Copies of these e-mails were given to my father to read to also keep him updated about me.  Once the blog was established, it also served the same purpose, but now with more information and more updates.  I visit Seattle often enough (2 to 3 times a year) that I don't even feel that I am that far away from them.  Another excuse on why I do not update this blog.

I have several drafts of blog posts on file, that for some reason or another, were not completed.  Last year, in a range of four months I visited several world capital cities (Berlin, Brussels, London, Lisbon, Warsaw, and Manila).  I wanted to provide updates of these travels, but did not.  I had two great-nephews who stayed with me for three weeks this past summer.  We explored many places in Western Europe.  You'll have to wait for future posts to read our adventures.  Or you can check out our pictures in my flickr account.  I have been uploading a few pictures at a time, because there is a great quantity of pictures.  I attended another successful family camping event this past summer while visiting Seattle, but did not provide any write-up about it.  Most of my nieces and nephews are reaching or have reach adulthood.  My great-nieces and great-nephews are growing leaps and bounds. These are the topics I usually cover in this blog.

Anyway,  all of this gibberish is to say that I am committed to provide at least two updates a month on this blog.  I want to write my stories again, share my experiences living overseas, see the places that I explore, and crack open the window again, even only for a little bit, to my life.

Check back every couple of weeks for my updates, or at least to make sure that I do my part of the commitment.

Paris in January 2013