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Gretchen's Travels
Tuesday, 2 November 2004
It's election day
Mood:  energetic
Just got back from voting. Of course, I voted for Kerry.

I'm a very addicted scrapbooker, so this is another good chance for a theme scrapbook page. With the election so important to all of us, it's something I want future generations to understand. There are so many different things we can add to the pages - American flags, candidate stickers, flyers, etc... I'll be taking photos of some of the lawn signs supporting candidates to add to my page.

Wouldn't it be incredible to read words written by our gr-gr-grandmothers when they were first able to cast a vote? To know how they were feeling that moment in time. For women, voting is so important and we should let our children and future generations take it for granted.

Trevor and I always go vote together. They give him a practice ballot, so he feels part of the process. He was very upset last night when I explained his vote wouldn't count because he's not 18. (He's only 9) Since the polls open at 7 a.m., we vote then I drive him to school wearing his 'I VOTED' sticker. :-)

With the last election decided by 12 people (The Supreme Court), it's more important than ever for everyone to make their voices heard. Don't let that right be taken away from us.


Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 8:21 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 2 November 2004 8:22 AM EST
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Monday, 1 November 2004
Pre-election blues
Mood:  cheeky
It's finally the last day before the elections. About time! I'm so sick of all the bashing I could puke.

I keep getting emails from obviously demented Republicans telling me life will end if their candidate isn't elected. SPARE ME!!! He's the cause of most of the problems in the world today. His one world leader mindset has turned the rest of the world against us. He's the one who is the biggest threat to our safety.

I met the Lt Governor of Pennsylvania the other night and did a quick interview. She's very approachable and what she said makes sense. Her people gave the reporters an 8x10 bio sheet on her to help with our articles, so I had her autograph mine to add to my political collection. :-) Can't miss an opportunity like that. They don't happen all that often. I did get to meet and interview the Governor a couple weeks ago. Another very approachable politician.

Lets hope we all wake up on Wednesday and the people were really allowed to elect their own President this year and not have the Supreme Court appoint one for us.

Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 8:25 AM EST
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Monday, 30 August 2004
First day of school
Mood:  don't ask
My children went back to school today. They're in fourth and sixth grades this year. The summer just flew by. Doesn't seem possible that it's over already.

Hubby and I are planning to go out camping this weekend with friends. It'll be cold, but we're not taking the kids with, so we can handle it. It'll be out last trip for the year. My dog will go with, he loves being out in the woods. Someone has to protect us from Bigfoot. :-)

The Republicans are out tooting their horns this week in NYC. They seem to be begging for a "terrorist" attack just to give them a chance to show how they handle it and, oh yeah, then cancel the elections. Can't let the people have a chance to really elect a President, now can we?

Morning gets here fast now, so until next time.

Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 8:09 PM EDT
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Friday, 20 August 2004
Mood:  caffeinated
Here it is 2:45 a.m. and I'm watching the Olympics. We weren't home when they were on at 8 p.m. last night, so I had to stay up to watch them.

I know, I'm a bit nuts, but I wanted to see (and tape) Carly Patterson win the AA gold for women's gymnastics. I knew she won because I read the results as soon as they're posted, well before NBC finally gets around to showing them.

Ackkk! I can't stand the Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina. She truly looks like a refugee from a concentration camp. Somebody needs to give that woman a candybar FAST!!! There's an old saying that you can never be too rich or too thin. Those people never saw this woman.

So, I'll be awake until about 5 a.m. when they finally show Carly's floor routine, then I'll get a little sleep before it's time to take my daughter to band practice. I'll be dragging later, but I suppose it's worth it to see history made. At least, that's the story I'm sticking with!

We're packing up the truck and heading out into the forest for a weekend of camping. The way it's been lately, it'll rain the whole time. Have you ever smelled a wet Golden Retriever? My dog goes with on all our trips. He guards the kids and makes us laugh when he saves us from a particularly viscious stick.



Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 2:28 AM EDT
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Sunday, 15 August 2004
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
We're back from our trip. Wow! Those Falls are impressive. I've seen them before, but each time they seem bigger.

The three days we spent there weren't enough to see and do everything we wanted, but we did try.

People of all ages, races, nationalities can be found there. It's not unusual to hear a dozen different languages being spoken while you walk. Parking is almost impossible to find, so it's easiest to just leave the car at the hotel and walk everywhere.

We threw what we needed for the day in our day packs and took off in the mornings. The Clifton Hill area is where all the tourists things are, like Hard Rock Cafe, WWE Slam store, Frankenstein's House, Planet Hollywood, Hershey Store and tons more.

I wanted to check out the haunted houses, but the only one we did get into was Alien Encounters. Nice full size models of some of movies favorites aliens, but the "haunted" part was pretty lame. There are two tours to take, one where they can grab your legs and one where they only make noise. We chose the first tour, but didn't even jump when I was grabbed. My friend lost her shoe when they grabbed her. :)

The IMAX theatre is a must stop. They were showing the history of Niagara. Lots of things to learn about the area and all the idiots ... er .... daredevils who went over the Falls. The first one was a female school teacher from NY who went over in a barrel with her cat. They both lived.

We checked out the new casino and actually won. Not a fortune, but enough to pay for the rest of our trip. Gotta love that. We didn't go to the old casino because it's so smoke filled, I would have ended up in the ER. The wonderful thing about Ontario is all restaurants are NON SMOKING!! We were able to eat at every place we wanted without worrying about me getting a migraine from smokers.

The Skylon was the place to watch the fireworks about the Falls. You're hundreds of feet up in the air and it was beautiful to see. They also light up the Falls at night. You're outside with only a cage keeping you from falling. The wind got whipping by the time 11 p.m. got there, so it was time to head back to the hotel and the jacuzzi. Just the thing to ease up the tired legs and feet after a long day of touring.

We will go back and take our kids to see everything. They were only 2 and 5 last time we were there. All they remember of the trip was the giant lollipops they got.

I took around 300 photos while we were there, plus we had video.


Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 9:24 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Counting down the hours
It's almost time for us to leave for our trip.

Spent all morning making sure I had our clothes ready and packing up our packs.

Of course, money is always a worry, but the hotel is already paid for and breakfast and one dinner is included, so it's just the incidentals to worry about. We can handle it. We're doing an all-inclusive tour to see the five main points. That makes it much easier. I want to see at least one of the haunted houses while we're there. Something about being scared silly that appeals to me.

I keep taking stuff out of my backpack. It feels way too heavy to be carrying all over Niagara Falls. The water isn't even in there yet. Randy will carry most of it since he's much stronger than me. I admit it, I'm a marshmellow.

Not sure if I'll be able to sleep tonight, I'm too excited!


Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 12:36 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 August 2004 12:40 PM EDT
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Monday, 9 August 2004
Getting anxious
Only three more days til we leave for our trip.

I have our bags out and started packing. We also have our backpacks out and will be pretty much living out of them during the days. We've been carrying them around everywhere to get use to the weight.

Spent several hours searching for things to do and places to visit while we're in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. There are lots of commercial haunted houses as well as real haunted areas. Should be interesting to see which is more scary.

It's been such a long time since I was this excited about a trip. I'm actually counting down the hours!

I'll be taking my laptop with, so I hope to be able to update this while we're away.


Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 7:18 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 August 2004 7:27 PM EDT
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Friday, 6 August 2004
Long day in court
I had to cover a trial today and was at the courthouse from 9 a.m. til after 6 p.m.! What a day.

The DA didn't proove his case at all, so it was a total shock to see the defendant convicted. Sometimes juries are too stupid.

The victim and defendant are both druggies in state prison for it. One more conviction won't make that much difference to the time this guy is serving, but it bothers me to see people convicted when they shouldn't be. I wrote my article up to let others know, not that it will matter in the least, but it made me feel better.

Only six more days and I'll be on my trip to Niagara Falls. I'm very excited. Got our birth certificates out and packed in our bags just in case. Don't want to get that far and not be allowed into the country.


Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 8:40 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 4 August 2004
Only a week left til VACATION!!!
It's almost time to head off to Niagara Falls, Ontario for our vacation. I can't wait to get there.

We were there 16 years ago for our honeymoon, but stayed on the American side. This time, we have a bit more money and want to do it right.

Last year, we had plans to be there, but all the power on the East coast went out that weekend!

This year, we have reservations for a nice jacuzzi suite with a bottle of bubbly waiting and we'll do all the tours. Just put on our backpacks and see all there is to see in the area.

We'll leave early on the 12th and come home on the 14th or 15th. Depends on what we end up doing that Saturday.

Let's hope nobody decides to pull the wrong switch again this year! I really want to add a Hard Rock Cafe pin from Niagara Falls to my jacket.


Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 11:58 PM EDT
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Saturday, 31 July 2004
Blue Moon
Tonight will be one of those rare events in life where there is a blue moon. Add that to Lammas and it should be a very powerful night indeed.

What is a Blue Moon?

There are in fact two definitions for a blue moon. According to the more recent definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. For a blue moon to occur, the first of the full moons must appear at or near the beginning of the month so that the second will fall within the same month (the average span between two moons is 29.5 days). July 2004 will have two full moons: the first on July 2, the second on July 31—that second full moon is called the blue moon.

The Other Kind of Blue Moon

An older definition for the blue moon is recorded in early issues of the Maine Farmer's Almanac. According to this definition, the blue moon is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. Why would one want to identify the third full moon in a season of four full moons? The answer is complex, and has to do with the Christian ecclesiastical calendar.

Some years have an extra full moon—thirteen instead of twelve. Since the identity of the moons was important in the ecclesiastical calendar (the Paschal Moon, for example, used to be crucial for determining the date of Easter), a year with a thirteenth moon skewed the calendar, since there were names for only twelve moons. By identifying the extra, thirteenth moon as a blue moon, the ecclesiastical calendar was able to stay on track.

I'm not sure where I'll be for it, but I'll be outside taking photos. I think I can add a photo on this blog, but I don't know for sure.

So, wherever you may be take a minute tonight to peer up at the heavens and see a natural wonder.


Posted by trek/gretchens_travels at 6:47 AM EDT
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