Saturday Scramble

Oh, the things we’ll do to avoid doing the taxes…

And yes, I realize I’ve put them off about as long as I dare.  Just as soon as I finish this post, I’ll go update the software, walk the dogs and then buckle down.  The taxes are just a symbol of how life is going right now.  If it isn’t on fire or otherwise an emergency, it isn’t getting my attention.

 The girls are peering up under the bridge across the little creek, and that’s a good image for how it goes in the woods of late.  I ran hurdles in high school track, and that’s how I’m managing things right now.  Eyes forward, leap while the brain is calculating when the next leap has to happen…

I do have a few things to report though, and for another photo of the girls in the water and an update on them, click here.

Firstly, coconut milk “creamer” doesn’t cut it.  I can do plain cream and an artificial sweetener or flavored syrup, but the vegan “creams” don’t come close.  I’d rather just do 2% milk and sweetener, to give you some idea?  I am drinking less coffee and more green tea though, so I figure my reduced consumption of “fake creamer” that way is perhaps win enough.

Relay Foods is my new friend.   There’s a pick-up location nearly every weekday that is close enough to on my way home that going to the grocery store is a thing of the past.  See above; I need time-savers and stress reducers, and I find the Knight’s turn down every aisle at strolling speed version of grocery shopping just about the most stressful thing EVER.

Do you Relay?  If so, please share your favorite finds.  Locally, they partner with Whole Foods, so I have a good idea of what’s available, but they also partner with local small businesses – like the tea source I didn’t have a clue about that I walk past regularly when I’m downtown.

1948054_10152302295495792_1403944811_nNext…  I’m pondering a return to nearly natural hair coloring.  I thought I wanted to go blonde instead of grey, but the most recent photos of me are too brassy, and I have a great colorist, use filtered water and quality hair products to wash…

Granted, I know I look awful in black and the lighting is horrible in this photo, but you get the idea.   Am I tilting at windmills?  Should I just use one of those cover the grey temporary colors that’s closer to my natural, medium-to-dark brown?

(And that cutie was Kids in the Kitchen vice chair.  She really is so petite that I am a few inches taller!  I’m looking forward to watching her develop as a JLC leader.  She’s smart, direct and a very hard worker… and always has that big smile on her face.)

Okay.  This isn’t taking care of the taxes or the dog walk.  How goes it in your part of the world?




Okay, so I *AM* a closet UVA fan, especially for basketball, and if you aren’t a college basketball fan, you might not know we’re having a banner year.   One lucky, expectant UVA friend will receive this FO (finished object) this week.

Oh — and UVA fans are Wahoos.  I’m really not sure why, but evidently, I’m not the only person in podunk who makes up words and then inserts them into her vocabulary.

UntitledProject: UVA Kickbag.  This is the second time I’ve done this pattern, and the third kickbag I’ve done.  One friend has already asked for a second bag for …B3 (her second child, and I won’t explain why I’m calling it B3 for privacy’s sake), so evidently, these sacks are functional, so they’re my new go-to-knit for my fertile friends.

Pattern: Kicking Bag for Babies is a very straight-forward, simple pattern.  I love the baby cables in the ribbed top, and after that, it’s mindless knitting in the round with a three-needle bind-off.  I’ve only done this pattern with self-striping/patterned yarns, so it wasn’t mind-numbing.

Yarn:  Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Team Spirit, from The Loopy Ewe.  Yummy goodness, and machine washable too.

Needles:  Knitpicks #3 Rainbow (wood) fixed circular in 16″ length.  (Anyone have the Caspian version?  I need more needles like a hole in the head, but this nature-lover is also a blue-green lover!)

Verdict:  I’m wondering how quickly I could do some for the TWO friends expecting TWINS in the next 45 days or so…  which is to say I really like this pattern.  It’s going to keep a little Wahoo snug as a bug this chilly spring at her first baseball games!  (I’m pretty sure her mom doesn’t read my blog and doesn’t have time right now even if she normally does…)

Now, if  you’ll excuse me I do have TWO baby blankets to finish/start, so back to the knitting.

Parading Literacy

UntitledSaturday was one of my favorite moments in the JLC year, the Downtown Holiday Parade.  It was a little early this year, but that’s okay.  We had fun!

Sorry there’s no photo of me in my pajamas in public.  Seriously…  I waited 24+ hours to compose this post so that I could share one of our group photos with you.  The theme was The Polar Express.   It took a little education on my part.  First, a co-worker had to correct me and let me know it is The POLAR EXPRESS, not the polar bear express as I inaccurately called it.  Then, another co-worker took pity on me and asked me if I knew about the Coors Light train.  Yeah…  Well, that’s how the Polar Express works, only with little kids from bed to the North Pole.


Got it!  I even swallowed my pride and wore pajamas in public while handing out candy canes.  Other Leaguers were handing out cute little scrolls that were a Polar Express reading challenge, tied with ribbon, a bow and the rather popular little quote about bells and believing.

I’m amazed yet again by the talent and vision our members possess.   They turned a golf cart into a train engine in just a few hours,  and still other members showed up with their own children (and sadly, no photos of the pair of BEAUTIFUL Goldens, representing the 4-footed kid crowd) and spouses and more to represent the JLC.

UntitledAnd while I loved the theme this year and the connection to our new literacy focus, it was a dream come true to have BROOD – Basset Rescue of the Old Dominion – following us in the parade!  Have you ever seen a cuter Mrs. Claus!?

(Oh look!  There’s one of “our” Goldens in the far, far back right…  I think it’s Bonnie.  Brody is a BIG “yearling” who is already 95 lbs. and I’m quite sure that if he fills out to match his head and feet, he’ll weigh about 11o or better.)

Are you in the holiday spirit yet?

Clearly I’m not quite there yet, despite an order to decorate at work (the interior is done) and the festive parade.  I’m still undecided on the card problem.  There are no perfect photos, and I’ve yet to find the right charitable card either…


Wine and …

I’m settling into a new routine, but evidently, it doesn’t include much blogging, keeping up with emails or much of anything other than work, dog walks and the musts in my datebook.  One of those included a Wine and Design mini-fundraiser for the League, even though I kept trying to tell everyone I can’t even draw a stick figure.

Before I share precisely how untalented I am, I do suggest you check out Wine and Design if there’s a location near you.  It was a lot of fun, and while I’m still arguing with the co-worker whose wife and mother had done it before, who assured me I couldn’t fail, I highly recommend it.  Before I show off my un-art, I will say it turned out better than I expected, and it was great fun, especially with other Leaguers and a guest or two.  (Turns out the local W&D owner went to school with a new JLC member AND said member’s sister inlaw, who was there to paint too.  I keep telling everyone… we’re all so very connected here.)

And I’d love to go back for the paint your pet session.  Wonder if the Knight would go with me so both girls could be immortalized badly  ?


Well, there you go.   I don’t love it, but in all fairness, I don’t like yellow much, and the art just isn’t my style.  I should have taken a photo of the sample, but I didn’t, so … just imagine what it might look like if someone who knew what she was doing had painted it.  

Did I mention that Wine & Design handed me a check for the JLC before the session started?  So it was more than worth it, even if I have no idea what we’ll do with this canvas.  I had joked that I was going to give it to my mother inlaw for her birthday, but I really do love her and it won’t work anywhere in her house either.

Have you tried a new craft lately?

Exceeded Expectations

motivational_mileSo much for attitude and intentions.  Last year, I had great expectations and basically hated the race.  This year, I was worn out before I started, but improved my time by almost 3 minutes and can seriously say I had plenty left at the end.


I should clarify that I’m talking about my 2nd Women’s 4-miler experience.

Even as the race started, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to run (vs. walk), but I lined up with a friend, and as we crossed the starting line, we kinda’ decided why not?!   I wogged…  I don’t call myself a runner.  To protect my back, I do a kinda’ low-impact shuffle that is part walk, part jog, and nothing like the sprinting or cross-country running I did long, long ago.  A seemingly bloggless friend coined the term, and it fits.

I didn’t push myself.  I could have done better, and am already toying with the idea of actually training for the race next year.  We’ll see.  This year, it was enough to just give the race – and myself – a second chance.  I didn’t hate it.  I still prefer wogging with the fur-girls, but there’s something to be said for 3,500 women taking to the road to raise funds for local breast healthcare.

There’s also something to be said for proper footwear.  Last year, I wore my favorite shoes… trail running shoes.  The course is 100% paved road.  This year, I bought a pair of not-trail running shoes and broke them in on the short walks where the girls and I  never leave the pavement, except for our driveway.  (The girls find excuses to off-road, even on our shortest walks.)  I’ve also accepted that while I love cotton socks, natural fibers are not my running friends.  Oddly, while I love a little negative ease (snug-fitting socks for the not-sock-knitters), I DO NOT like compression socks.  In fact, they make my arches hurt.

And no, there is no group photo.  We planned our gathering for about the time line-up starts.  Next year… maybe?

So happy Labor Day, America.  I’m celebrating with the girls, a long walk, some yoga, a book and lots of general relaxation.


Because I Can

Well, despite all of my moaning and groaning post-race last year, tomorrow morning, I will do my second Charlottesville Women’s 4-Miler.   Myself and I really had a firm debate just before the sign-ups went live.  (I’m not sure where Me was; she didn’t engage.) 

I asked Myself, “Are you signing up just because it’s the thing to do?”

Myself answered, “Um… maybe?  But we walk 20+ miles a week, and do at least two walks over 4 miles every single week, so … why wouldn’t we sign up?”

So… we did.  I made a stab at rounding up a JLC team, but …  the start of a busy League year isn’t the time for the President to play team captain for a non-League event.  The fab Newsletter Editor is coordinating a group photo, so maybe I’ll remember to hand someone my phone too, or I’ll steal a photo from our members-only Facebook page.

I am not excited about the race.  Despite doing Cross Country and Track in my teens, I don’t love races.  I thoroughly enjoy wogging – walking, running, whatever – with the fur-girls, but dogs aren’t welcome at this event.  I’ve had a long week, haven’t eaten, hydrated or trained the way I would if I took racing seriously, but I’m showing up tomorrow anyway, because I can.

Just about everyone I know has someone close to them fighting a battle.  So many people I know have health care cost concerns, above and beyond any medical issues.  I’m healthy and can cover 4 miles at some respectable enough speed (even if I just walk), and my entry – and presence – will make a difference to a local breast care program.  So tomorrow, I’ll be there, and I’m counting on the dynamic, energetic, delightful women of the JLC who are also showing up in the morning to get me started on the right foot.

And then, I’ll stop and get an egg, ham and cheddar on a raisin bagel for breakfast.  If it’s not too hot when I get home, the girls and I will do another cool-down “lap” and if it is, I’ll let them drag me back out again near dusk.

What’s on your weekend agenda?

(Sorry… the old work computer and WordPress aren’t playing well together today, so no photos.)



Gold Toast

The regular readers out there won’t be shocked; I all but forgot to take photos last night, despite toting my phone around the whole time.  So, while there are no photos of me or any other people, I did remember to snap a couple of shots of the theater itself, from the balcony.


Beautiful, eh?  It was a special treat to get a tour of the facilities, including the not-public-access halls to the dressing rooms, green room, etc., which were filled with the signatures from the artists who have performed there. 

UntitledHere’s a slightly different angle from the same spot in the balcony.  I actually took this photo first, then realized a perspective that included the stage might be nice.  The ceiling really might be my favorite part of the grand, golden room.

Our event was held in a room just off the main lobby, and then we watched the “sorting” into advisor groups right there IN the lobby.  It was great fun, and I’m quite excited about this year’s newest members. 

Many thanks to The Paramount for hosting us, and to the fabulous Provisional Committee for planning such a fun, festive kickoff event!

Women’s Equality Day 2013

Happy Women’s Equality Day!   As the old cigarette commercial used to say, “We’ve come a long way baby.”  There’s still plenty of room for improvement, starting with the very Congress that created this day in 1971, but it is nice to know that there is a day to honor the accomplishments and remind us to keep working for TRUE equality.

streetViewIt’s also fun that it falls on one of my favorite events in the League calendar.  The Champagne Toast is only about four years old in our League, but it’s the evening when we toast our newest members and formally welcome them into our organization.   This year, I’m even more excited because the event is being held in our glorious, historic Paramount Theater.   It happened to open about a decade after women were given the right to vote, which also happened on this day in 1920.

I cannot imagine my life without some semblance of equality.   For those who aren’t long-time, regular readers, I was active in politics in college, was a professional firefighter for 12 years, and have spent the past 12 years in the male-dominated water-well industry.   I confess that until I became familiar with Occoquan (the town… its prison and history), I took my right to vote and the equality that comes with it for granted. 

I’m of two minds on that taking for granted.  As a lover of history, I am ashamed that I went to college just a few miles from said prison and yet it was never mentioned in history or political science that little Occoquan housed some of the suffragettes.  However, albeit unknowingly at the time, I was a trail blazer for women in the fire service, and I’m actually delighted that we came so far so fast that few people think anything of seeing women firefighters, police officers, etc. these days.  

Any thoughts on the state of women’s equality?

Double Header

Thursday was a big day for the Junior League of C’ville (JLC).  I started out the evening at our first new member interest event of the new League year.   I love meeting all the potential applicants!  Each year, I’m re-amazed at the smart, energetic women who are drawn to the JLC, and this year is no exception.

JLC13.618This is my favorite photo from the evening.  I had to borrow it from Facebook as most of  the photos I took had condensation on the lens.  The venue was a little warm; it was a very hot day and the AC was having trouble keeping up with all of us.

I’m on the right, with two board member-friends.  One of the things I love about the League is even when we’re hard at work, we usually manage to have fun!

I scooted out of that event early to make it to our first fundraiser of the year at Trump Winery’s Third Thursday Music Series.

(Yes, THAT Trump.  Mr. Trump bought the old Kluge Winery and this was my first visit since it became Trump.)

The tasting room is a lovely building with an incredible view.   From the first event of the night, I had to drive past Monticello and Ash Lawn-Highland (home of James Monroe, whom one local history buff insists held the original land grant for my property as well) to get to the winery.  I love living in history that people from around the world come to visit, but I don’t take it for granted.

I was soon sipping their incredible Sauvignon Blanc.  I confess… a bottle came home with me.  I didn’t know what I’d been handed, but when I described it to the winery employee as “clean and not too sweet” she nailed it – and granted me a taste to confirm.  (Their chardonnay isn’t bad either; I had a taste of that to rule it out, as those were the two whites they were serving by the glass.)

It was a little hot and humid for hanging out on the patio with friends, but we did it anyway.  I regret that I don’t have photos to share… or not.  Did I mention it was hot and humid?  We were all a little soggy and droopy, but it was great to chat with League members I didn’t know as well as I should!

JLCI did pause on my way home to take a photo.  I regret that I didn’t have my big, good camera with its zoom lens for this one.  The sunset was an incredible PANK.  You can see a hint of the pink in the middle of the photo, where the mountains meet the trees, but the intense colors got lost in transition.  It was a just about perfect evening to have to be two places at once, even with the sweat running down my back.

I wish the events hadn’t been on the same night so that “everyone” could have experienced both of them, but we fell into the Trump opportunity after the invitations had gone out for the interest event.   I kinda’ glossed over my thankfuls yesterday, but I am so very grateful for my past president friend who represented at Trump, and for the darlin’ Membership VP (far left, top photo) who not only represented  at the interest event so I was free to leave, but took photos… so the past president could stay at the winery and avoid my double-duty.

Confused?  Well…  said past president is doing a double placement this year.  She’s both past president and League historian, so she quickly agreed to stay at the winery if we’d take lots of photos for her at the other event.  We really have some devoted, dedicated leaders in the JLC, and I’m so glad they’re also friends.

What simple joys have you overlooked today?

The rest of the story

Photo courtesy of Kathyb

Photo courtesy of Kathyb

Last Tuesday, I had the distinct pleasure of hanging out with Kathyb and family, right here in podunk!  Nothing like playing tour guide to make you appreciate your hometown.

Kathy gives me far more credit than I deserve, but I’ll try to fill in the gaps. 

We dined at Hamiltons’ which never disappoints, but you have to know Hamiltons’ wasn’t my original choice.  First, I’d thought we’d do a brewery, but they’re all roughly half an hour out of town, and we were wandering around the shops on the downtown mall while Al – Kathy’s daughter – made her way to us from another part of the state.   There is a brewery downtown, but it’s closed on Tuesdays (of course!) so I suggested South Street, because it after all, South Street Brewery.  (Their website isn’t working, so no link today.)  However, they’re not open for lunch either!  We also tried to stop in another eatery downtown and they weren’t open either, and I confess at this point, I don’t even remember its name.  But there’s always Hamiltons’, and while it isn’t known for its beer selection, we did have a great meal.

Courtesy of the Monticello Store

Courtesy of the Monticello Store

Kathy wants to know more about Sally Hemings.  Don’t we all?!   I confess, she fascinates me too.  Who was the woman Thomas Jefferson seemed to love?  Well… she was his wife’s half-sister, for starters, and there is DNA evidence – although not a consensus among historians – that Mr. Jefferson sired at least one child with Hemings.  Kathy wants a reading recommendation, and I suggest The Hemingses of Monticello.  Yes, its subject is broader than the span of Sally’s life, but as a native of the area, I can assure you, the Hemingses are as much a part of local history as is Mr. Jefferson himself. 

Side note here…  yes, you can find the book on Amazon too, but if you buy from Monticello, a portion of the sale supports said national treasure.   I can assure you, it’s fiscally secure, but I hope that 200 years from now, it still will be and people from all over the world will continue to visit and be inspired to learn more about Mr. Jefferson.   As his relationship with Ms. Hemings illustrates, the great patriot, farmer and philanthropist (to name just a few of his claims to fame) was flawed, but that just makes him more interesting and sparks more discussions, right?

Next time Kathyb, we’ll tour the Grounds of Mr. Jefferson’s college.  I love his original “campus” best, and you can also see Edgar Allen Poe’s room on the same short walk.

What’s the infamous scandal in your town’s history?  (As if the Jefferson affair was the only one here…)