Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Philadelphia for ISTE2015

We arrived on Saturday afternoon after a long flight (and a 3 hour time difference) to pouring rain! Since it was coming down hard, we opted to stay in the hotel for dinner. Had a lovely dinner at the Red Owl Tavern, which is apparently very well know in Philly, but happened to be right there when we needed it. I had dinner with about 5 of the other teachers/TOSAs from our school district who are on the trip.

On Sunday, I only had a few things to do for the conference, so I was determined to see and do as much of the touristy things as I could fit in. I walked over to ISTE in the morning (about 8 blocks from our hotel), which is the International Society for Technology in Education, and got checked into the conference and attended one session. Then, I wandered into the Reading Terminal Market, a place sort of like Pike's Place Market only larger and with more variety.

After a few minutes there, I hiked back to near the hotel and got in line to see the Liberty Bell. As a general rule, I hate selfies, but I even made an exception to take one of myself with the Liberty Bell.

Very cool. Then, I checked out the Visitor Center for Independence Hall, picked up a ticket for a later tour of Independence hall, and then hiked the 8 blocks back to the convention center to attend another session.

Oh, and somewhere along the way I also stopped and got a Philly Cheesesteak for lunch...a must do for Philadelphia, although I'm not sure I understand the allure of Cheese Whiz on a sandwich.

After attending a session, I again walked the 8 blocks back to Independence Hall, where I spent an enjoyable afternoon visiting the National Constitution Center, where I was able to see an original copy of the Bill of Rights, and first printings of the Declaration of Independence and Constitutions, as well as an exhibit on JFK photography, a show about the history behind America's bid for independence, and other neat features.

Then, I walked back to the hotel to recharge my cell phone before heading off to take a tour of Independence Hall and the original Pennsylvania Senate and House chambers. Along the way, I also saw Ben Franklin's grave and the place where his house stood. I thought it was interesting to see how different the Senate and House chambers were. It's clear that the Senate really thought of the Representatives as the "Lower House."

The House

The Senate

 Then, I again hiked the 8 blocks back to the convention center, and attended the Opening Keynote speech, which was by CNN reporter Soledad O'Brien, who is a very engaging speaker.

After that, I couldn't find my coworkers in the crowd, and my cell phone had died so I had no way to contact anyone. So, I went to a SMART Technologies social by myself, and then around 9:45 set out to walk back to the hotel for the last time of the day.  I hadn't had dinner yet, so I was also looking for late night food. At the hotel, I heard that they were going to be setting off fireworks for the end of the Tall Ships Festival (which I missed) so I kept walking a few more blocks instead of heading into the hotel and found a nice brew pub with outdoor seating. So, I had dinner by myself at 10:00 at night while watching fireworks being set off just down the street (but no pics of that since my phone (aka camera) was dead.  I got back to the hotel about 10:30, where I was still able to call my family (after plugging in my phone and waiting for it to turn on) in time to say goodnight to Jack (and Mike, but he doesn't have an 8pm bedtime). I finally when to bed at almost midnight local time.

On Monday, I had a much more conference oriented day. I attended sessions all day, learning lots about the different technologies available in Education. Over lunch, I did have to make the 8 block trip back to hotel to get my laptop, which I'd forgotten, so again I made that trip multiple times. My feet are feeling it! At 5:30, I called it quits for the day and met up with a couple of co-workers. We walked down and had dinner at Amada, Iron Chef Jose Garces restaurant, which is Tapas style. It was very yummy...mussels on toast, bacon wrapped dates, manchego cheese with truffled lavender honey, spanish tortilla with braised short ribs on top, garlic shrimp, and artichoke hearts swimming in a parmesan cream sauce with pine nuts. Then, after that we walked down to the oldest candy/icecream maker in the city, in operation for over a 100 years. I had a yummy  Cherry Butter Almond Icecream cone and may need to go back to buy some chocolate before I leave. I was so tired after the time change and late night before that I was back in the hotel by 7pm and in pajamas by 8pm (although as I'm writing this it's almost 10pm, so I'll wait until tomorrow to add pictures and get this posted).

Today, I spent all day at the conference. I did take a couple picture of City Hall and the Masonic temple as I walked by because the buildings are so impressive.

We walked out to get some dinner and as we were walking back, the skies opened and we were caught in a sudden downpour. I was a bit soaked by time we made it back to the hotel room (and look at that--2 selfies in a week. What's the world coming to!)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Camping at Trillium Lake

Our camping trip was wonderful!

We arrived Monday. Since we spent the night before in Portland we were at the lake by about 10am. We had planned to poke around and have a sleepy, slow morning, but Jack would have none of that! He wanted to go camping! So, we got there very early, but luckily the campers in one of the spots had already cleared out so we were able to set up camp, drive in to town for firewood and such, and then hang out "at the beach," as Jack calls it. I guess any place with dirt/sand shore and water is the beach. I kept telling him all week that it was "the lake," but it never really sank in.

Kami and Jason and girls arrived about 6pm in time for dinner. Monday night was very cold overnight and we all had to switch into warm clothes when the sun went down, but the weather was warm for most of the week.

Then, we spent Tuesday and Wednesday just hanging around at the lake with the canoe, some fishing poles, and lots of toys.  Wednesday was colder all day and not a good water day until about 3:30 when the sun suddenly came out and everything warmed up quickly. We did the 2 mile hike around the lake together, which was lovely. Even Jack walked the whole way, although he did complain a little bit about it taking "forever" toward the end.

On Thursday, we went to Hood River and round the Hood River train. It was hot walking around in Riverdale, but it was a fun experience, and Jack always likes trains.

We also had lots of good food to eat. Kami is quite adept at dutch oven cooking, even making dessert. My contributions ran more toward hotdogs and marshmallows on a stick, but everything was really good.

Jack had a great time playing with his cousins "Lyssa" and "Kay-lynn." The girls were very patient with his little boy desire to play constantly. Do you want to play with me?

He especially enjoyed engineering rivers (pouring buckets of water down the shore and making tunnels) and building bridges and roads out of sticks and firewood. He had no problem sitting right down in the dirt and was covered most of the weekend!

Mount Hood was quite gorgeous, and the campsites were pretty, large, and surrounded by tall trees. I'd go back again.

Then, Friday we drove home and I repacked and headed out to Philadelphia. I'll start posting about that tomorrow...

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