Wednesday, October 27, 2010


No one had ever hosted a surprise birthday party in my honor prior to two Fridays ago.  And by that I mean that H. threw me the most epic surprise birthday party of all time!  He had me picking something up from his house for him (with my friend K.), so when I got there, you might be able to imagine what happened next.  I opened the door and into pitch black I saw several figures, just standing, waiting (lurking, almost); so for a moment, I was terrified.  But then, someone opened the door, flipped the lights on, and tons of friends from college, work, etc. were standing in one room yelling, "Surprise!"  It was awesome.  My friend K. was in town for UVa's homecoming, and she was in on the surprise the whole time!  It was so fun!  Driveby of the weekend:  awesome surprise birthday party, Chocolate Festival and UVa Homecoming game the next day, and apple-picking on Sunday prior to K.'s departure.  Grrrreeat weekend!

A picture from the surprise party:  me with two cakes, how appropriate, guys.

The following week, I got an icky old cold, complete with fever, chills, coughing and copious amounts of chicken broth.  The most productive thing I did between Monday and Wednesday last week was watch Gone with the Wind straight through (including the intermission).

Alas, I was able to go back to work on Thursday and Friday, then drive to Lebanon for birthday festivities this past weekend (as my real birthday was on Sunday).  My mom and dad had a big birthday party for me at home, too, with yummy food and family.  AND, I got to debut my new cowboy boots for the occasion!

I also got to ride down to the farm to see some cuties, and by the way, Mom and Dad informed me that Lucky is a female cat, for the record.  Here are some shots from the farm:

Most of you all know how I feel about cats (not my favorite creations), but this little wild barn kitten is a doll!

And a smidgen of a tribute to my favorite dog that we have ever had:  Butch.  My brother got Butch when he was a puppy (he's a Great Pyrenees with a little bit of English Sheep dog in the mix); he has always lived with the sheep and he is a very timid dog.  He loves the sheep and won't let anyone he doesn't know near them; I love this dog and would steal him if I thought he would be happy with me in my little apartment.

On my birthday, Mom and I walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with my sis-in-law S. and some of her family. It was a beautiful day, and it was my first 5k, even though we walked it!  S., her mother and sister made all of us tie-dye shirts for the event:  Go team Tie-Dye!

Me, S. and Mom at the 5k

Friday, October 15, 2010


My latest, and most secretive, project is pictured above, wrapped around my Mom's neck.  It was part of her birthday gift. I've been dying to show it off, but I couldn't spoil the surprise, so here it is.

One of my wonderful friends K. is coming into town today for UVa's Homecoming weekend.  It should be an awesome weekend filled with reminiscing and memory-making.  And cake, of course.  And maybe some apple-picking on Sunday afternoon.  Details will follow; have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Jamestown Story

Last weekend, I had a history marathon with good friends.  On Friday night, we went on the Charlottesville Ghost & Murder Walking Tour, which follows the murder of ex-mayor Sam McCue's wife Fannie that happened in 1904; we even got to go to their house on Park Street.  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the local history here.  It was so much fun; I learned a ton about Downtown Charlottesville, and I recommend it to everyone.

Then on Saturday, H., C&K. and I went to Williamsburg.  H. and I had lunch with his folks at the Cheese Shop, and then when C&K arrived, we all meandered around for the Prelude to Victory event happening in Colonial Williamsburg.  The Prelude to Victory was a reenactment of Williamsburg's receipt of Generals Washington and Rochambeau and their troops on their way to Yorktown to, in short, win the Revolutionary War.
For the record, we did not run into either General while meandering, but we did see a cow's utter being cooked over an open fire (interesting choice), a soldier sleeping in his tent, some Colonial crafting/mending, horse-drawn carriages and much more.  There were some kids playing with the muskets, and one soldier jumped out of character to tell the parents to have them be careful, as the guns cost about $800 each.

Then, C&K, H. and I headed to the Jamestown Settlement.  Many people have recommended that going to the Historic Jamestown (as in, the place where they actually set up camp) is the best place to go, but I really wanted to get on a seventeenth century replica ship, so we went to the Jamestown Settlement (replica village).  We didn't get there until 4:00, and they close at 5:00, so we only had an hour to take it in. 

The replica Ships at the Jamestown Settlement (we were standing on the Susan Constant, looking at the Godspeed and the Discovery).

Apparently, the Susan Constant carried about 70 passengers.  We were trying to imagine how difficult it must have been for all the passengers to pass time in a small ship like this one for almost five months!

Here is me in a bed aboard the Susan Constant; I figured out very quickly that it was stuffed with hay (dang you, allergies).

Here is the church at the Jamestown Settlement.  I thought it was very pretty.

I found it very difficult to take pictures of the historical reenactments without modern, 2010 people being in the shots, but this one was one of my favorite images from the day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Darlin'

My mom had a very special birthday on Monday.  Dad, Bran and my sis-in-law S. and I had a luncheon in her honor.  I made a fabric party garland from French General's Home Sewn book. It was a hit! Here's what I made for our little party:  spinach souffle dip, spinach-ricotta stuffed chicken, cooked broccoli and Parmesan baked shoestring fries.  For dessert, I successfully nailed some chocolate souffles (but they fell before we could finish singing "Happy Birthday").

Then Mom, my sis-in-law S. and I went to Abingdon to hit up some cute little shops for the afternoon.  It was a lovely autumnal day, but apparently many of the local shops are closed on Mondays.  Instead, we opted to see a movie, Wall Street, and we all enjoyed it.  Later, we went back to Mom and Dad's, got a pizza and drank some champagne.  Some highlights in photos:

Mom and I in historic Abingdon, VA.

 Mom sporting the new jacket that Dad gave her.  Isn't she glowing?  Here's to you, Mom. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October Road

This past weekend, I drove down a long stretch of Interstate 81, and when I drove by the Hillsville exit, I remembered the beautiful colors reminiscent of fall that I captured within the antique booths. But I continued to Lebanon, and I got to stay for a few extra days to hang with my family. Fall is here, folks. More about the weekend tomorrow.

I loved this chandelier for sale in Hillsville.