On The Blackwater

Musing on retirement, writing, puppies, and whatever else strikes my fancy

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Spending my life in 20-year increments: DC, Calif, Maine, & now in the BlueRidge Mountains of VA, where my YoChon, Sadie Mae, has started to blog...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday at Kroger's

The woman ahead of me in line was very, very angry. She began accusing the clerk (who was training a bright young woman at the cash register) of conspiring to charge more for a product than was advertised...The clerk (who is one of their most capable) calmly explained to the customer that there was no conspiracy, that the computer simply read the bar code, that the assistant manager was checking to see what the price on that product was.

The clerk was patient; the customer was explosive. Her anger spilled over to the other customers as the assistant mgr and then the mgr came over to try to calm her down. The ice cream was NOT on sale; she had looked at a price sticker for a similar item.

The customer slammed her cart out the door after paying for the groceries with her card. "I'm never shopping here again!" she announced.

I grinned at the clerk, and the young trainee. "Gosh, we're gonna miss her!" I said.

When I got out to the parking lot, there stood the angry woman, speaking to the younger woman with her.

"I locked my keys in the car!" she was saying, her face like a thundercloud, her mouth twisted.

Did she go back into Kroger's and ask for help from the Customer Help Desk? I didn't wait around to see, but I did see that the ice cream in her cart was beginning to melt and drip....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wicked Coincidences

The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week was "wicked." Now, if you live in New England, wicked is a term used with a wink and a smile. When I was looking for a set of wicker furniture for our deck, hubby told everyone I was looking for wicked furniture!

Becky posted some pictures of us taken at the General Store yesterday, so hubby showed me how to copy them and (maybe!) post them here. Maybe I'd better explain the coincidence first, in case this shows up topsy-turvey.

There we were at The General Store, me with my ankle brace still on as my doctor ordered a follow-up Xray and then went on a week's vacation...Becky with her foot still bound up from her surgical adventure...and Bruce also had some minor surgery on his right foot. Yep, all 3 of us with right-foot-itis. Try driving a car when your doctor has said to stay off that foot, keep it elevated, yada yada yada.

Hopefully, my hubby will still be the grill chief after doing such a terrific job since the beginning of May...

OK, let's see if I can post those pictures!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good Day at The General Store

Vickie, the boss-lady at The General Store, provided a lovely setting for Becky and me to sign our books. She'd put a table up before the fireplace covered with a linen tablecloth shot through with gold thread. Believe it or not, I'd worn a tunic top that practically matched. She had flowers and a beautiful small clock on the table, and our books neatly displayed.

As customers entered (and what a busy place that is on a Saturday) Vickie would bring them over and introduce us to her two "authors," raving about our books. It seemed everyone knew about Ida B. Peevish aka Becky, and some had come specifically to get her book(s). Others laughed at the title of my book, When Men Move to the Basement, asking me if I knew HOW to get them to do that!

Sales moved briskly, and we signed and signed. Bruce Rae, the artist who illustrated my book and one of Becky's books, also showed up to sign. When traffic was slow, we three had time to chat as well as walk around the store looking at their eclectic selection of gifts...fun jewelry, teddy bears, stained glass, paintings, even food products.

Speaking of food products, Vickie and her cheerful staff put out a nice spinach dip along with an amazing salsa, chips, ham biscuits, cheese and crackers, and lemonade, for customers as well as for us. I'd known we were to be there from 10-2, and had wondered how I'd make it through lunch time after my 6:30 am oatmeal breakfast, but we were invited to snack by 11 and lunch time just flew by. Needless to say, I purchased a jar of their corn salsa and another salsa, a black bean concoction.

We nearly ran out of their copies of our books; fortunately, we'd each brought some copies along to do some restocking. Now I'll have to call Infinity Publishing to get another shipment before August 10th and our Coffeehouse Readings at Edible Vibe in Rocky Mount. Gosh...

Thanks, Becky, for bringing me in on the signing. I mentioned it to Fred First, who is out of town at a week-long writers' conference. I know Vickie would love his book AND his beautiful photography on his notecards. They would fit perfectly at The General Store at Westlake, Smith Mountain Lake.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Tomorrow at the General Store at Westlake

Tomorrow (Saturday, 7/28) I'll be joining Ida B. Peevish at The General Store at Westlake. It's located on Scruggs Road on the left, just before DQ on the right. We'll be there from 10 until 2, signing books.

With this tricky weather, we're not sure if we'll be out in front in their nice big lot, or inside out of possible rain. We had a downpour here about an hour or so ago; pouring hard rain....then suddenly, nada.

We need a solid week of pouring rain, frankly. Someone asked me about our stretch of the Blackwater River & whether we could canoe there. Right now, we'd have to pick up the canoe & carry it! Portage as we used to say when we raced canoes up north. (Always pronounced por-TAHJE since we lived in French-Canadian territory.)

Well, it's time to get the Old Boy cranking up the grill for chicken breasts. I'm trying a recipe that was on GMA this morning, for pineapple chicken-in-the-bag. I had to laugh when the cook said it was so SIMPLE and used things you already had around the house, like crushed pineapple. She then went on to add champagne vinagrette and Jose Cuer'vo golden margarita mix.

Maybe in HER house those are staples...so I substituted. Who knows how it will turn out!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pictures, I have Pictures

A better shot of our new neighbor's house under construction. Now I'll try to upload some more pictures of our meadow and the Blackwater River.

Ooops...this is the road Dick put in over the old dirt road down to the Blackwater. More pics next of the meadow and the river at the bottom of this road.

Hmmm...it seems the pictures load on TOP of one another, instead of after. Still learning, learning...

I just added a picture of the sun on the meadow. The river is to the right behind the trees. Next I'll put a picture SOMEwhere of the ripples in the Blackwater.

Then there's a picture of Dick's truck heading up the old road towards our driveway. Ah, let's just consider this blog a puzzle as the narrative is a bit of a problem.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Victory Gardens

I must mention that I was contemplating writing this BEFORE I saw today's Roanoke Times carrying an AP story about city people planting kitchen gardens in their front yards & drawing criticism from neighbors.

Back during WWII, everyone was encouraged to grow a Victory Garden, either in their back yards or in a neighborhood plot. My grandmother had a wonderful little garden, as did we. It was always a special treat to eat an entire meal from our own garden.

Living in CA, raising three kids, I have great memories of days out in the garden. One time, our next door neighbors had their church friends over for a picnic and both my sons invited their pastor to our yard to see pickling cukes growing on the vine. It seemed he had no idea there even was such a thing as a pickling cuke!

Growing up as they did, it's no wonder at all that they, too, grew gardens with great pleasure. Digging new potatoes out of a mound of dirt is nothing short of a miracle. Now that we worry so much about imported food and pesticides, it seems natural to me that we go back to raising our own veggies whenever possible. Mostly, now, I depend on my farmer neighbors' largess and also shop at the Farmers' Market in town, or the Beckner's farm on 122.

Today, since the weather finally has turned a bit cool, I snapped green beans and cooked up a large pot with onions and (gasp!) salt pork. I'll add some new potatoes to the pot for supper. Lunch was a crisp sliced pickling cuke, sliced homegrown tomato, and a small dish of the cooked beans.

Meat? Well, I do have a lovely piece of leftover grilled salmon, but I also have some corn on the cob. Life is good!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

McMansion at the mailbox

Hidden behind the trees on the right is a 2-car garage and a single-car garage (probably for a riding lawnmower, etc). Behind the pointy peak is yet another dormer. I can't wait to see the interior!
Hidden behind the tree on the left, the porch extends and the house seems to go on & on.
The contrast between the rest of us, with our tiny one-story homes set on 12, 16, & 18-acre parcels full of very tall trees, is striking. Rumor has it the divorced mom with 4 kids is planning to have horses on the land adjoining our property. Stay tuned!

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Muffie's Angel in the woods

I think maybe perhaps I might possibly have...gotten a picture on my Blog. Seems mighty small to me, but maybe it'll show up OK.
Muffie was my 16-year old Lhasa Apso that we lost about two years ago. Broke my heart. Dick put together this little grave garden on our land, and an angel looks down on Muffie. I had worried about her, out there in the dark, alone, particularly when it rained, so Dick turned a soft spotlight from the house on this area.

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The Collyer Brothers~

Amy T sent me on a search for the Collyer Brothers, and I'll bet I'm the only person here old enough to remember when they were found, and the huge sensation their life "style" made on NYC and the entire nation. I was born in DC and grew up there, so their story certainly made the news on the East Coast.

If you Google them (and I did remember they spelled their name with a Y, although you'd expect it to be IER)
and pull up the Wikipedia piece, you'll get their entire story. It is haunting. They were both college-educated & their father was a doctor who left his wife & two sons when they were young. When their mother died, they inherited the townhouse (although later in the account they did have a mortgage amount to pay off which I suspect was actually taxes) and began collecting everything and anything, stuffing the house full of things. They stacked newspapers in the rooms and hallways, leaving tunnels or narrow paths through. No electricity, no telephone, no running water, no heat except a small kerosene heater.

Neighbors complained of a foul odor, so police broke in & found their bodies. One died of malnutrition and starvation; the other one, who had set booby traps throughout the place, got trapped in one of his own devices and died.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Day of Firsts for Sadie Mae

Dick took Sadie Mae down to the river on his ATV, and she decided to go for a SWIM! The river was very shallow, but of course the water lifted her little feet up off the bottom, and he said her eyes opened wide and she swam. Dog Paddle, of course. He was all ready to jump in if she needed help but she immediately swam to shore and then shook herself all over him. OK, Yorkie terrier mixed with Bichon Frise'...who knew? Fortunately, the river is too far from our house for her to wander down there alone.

Another first: we took her to a church picnic tonight at Mary Elizabeth Park. She's been needing some socialization, being around just us two all the time. Of course, the children were SO excited to see her & pet her. She was two months old and two pounds total the last time we had her there, so they were amazed at how she'd grown and changed. The small babies particularly loved her, chortling and kicking their heels trying to get closer to her. It's the start of Vacation Bible School, so there were plenty of children there, but they were careful and polite, asking me if it was OK to pet her (smart kids!).

How big is she now? She wasn't supposed to top 6 pounds, but I have to believe she's around 8 pounds now, and kinda long & lean with silky white chenille-type hair. Only a tiny bit of caramel coat left on top. I can't remember if I said this already, but the other morning I was fixing my coffee and heard her grr-rr-ring only to find her dragging Dick's jeans across the living room rug, pulling them by his belt. I have no idea what she was planning to do with those jeans. When she was still two pounds, I found her dragging one of his size-13 sneakers across the floor by the shoestring. Out of the corner of my eye, I just saw this huge white sneaker going by like a tugboat.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Oh, this glorious weather!

Hubby motioned me out onto the sunporch this morning, where it was COOL and lovely. And it has been breezy today, soft and mellow weather after all this baking in 90 degrees.

About Florida: When I was 4 years from retiring, we sat down with a map and discussed our options. Despite my mom and dad, maternal grandparents before them, and my sister and her family, neither of us had any desire to head to Florida from northern Maine. We'd had a family reunion there in late August for my grandmother's 90th birthday, and I so remember leaving my sister's house and walking through what seemed to be a hot felt curtain until we could get to the AC cars. Since then, both parents and grandparents have passed on, and my sister moved north. Maybe it was the bugs as big as Volkswagens...

We talked about NC, where many of his hunters (he still is a Master Maine Guide) live, but that didn't appeal to either of us. Since I'm originally from DC and my mother's family settled in NOVA early on, I called my realtor Uncle in Reston, who suggested we look at the Roanoke/Smith Mountain Lake area. A Rocky Mount realtor brought us to this 12-acre wooded parcel on the Blackwater River with the incredible view, and we both knew this would be our retirement home. Mod-U-Kraf built us their Newcastle home (I was still up in Maine, working) and lifted it onto our land with a huge crane. One of the two segments nearly crashed! That was the half with the jacuzzi tub that looks out on the incredible view.

What we didn't know? That this red clay dirt would stain our silver-blue carpet, our socks, our clothes. I wanted hardwood floors, but so far only the foyer & dining area are hardwood. (I have not given up on that!)
***I'm sure glad this blogspot self-saves! Dick just drove me down to the river, where he had a fellow bushhog today, and what a difference. The fellow said we have the prettiest spot on the river, so calm and quiet down there. Now Dick will have to keep it mowed...do I feel a Lowe's riding lawnmower attack coming on?

Ah, this weather! Looks like we won't get rain for a bit, but it is supposed to stay around 80. Wonderful~

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Good News Coming~

Becky, wanna borrow my cane? Or the walking cast? Take it easy and we'll see you when we see you. Naps are nice.

Yes, it looks as if my ankle has healed (hard to type with crossed fingers). I called the doctor this morning to set up the X-ray that will show us whether I can walk on my own now. Long ordeal, since the 1st of May. I am SO ready to just wear sandals.

BTW: I've been selecting Publish on the comments, but somehow they're not showing up at times.

Hmmmm. No e-mail from Hubby with pics yet. Better get out that whip. Nah, 90+ degrees predicted today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another three-bra day!

OK, I stole that quote from a Reader's Digest item, but it is so true! 90 degrees and soaking wet bras go together.

This morning, Sadie Mae struggled and grrrr'd as she tried to drag Hubby's jeans across the floor, using his belt as leverage. He'd apparently put them on the couch instead of in the laundry, intending to wear them another day. Too tempting for a Yorkie! She also chewed the recliner lever to a fare-thee-well. And the runners on my wooden rocker.

Since Remington, the 10-month old Lab, ate the wires from under Dick's truck, we're doing a bit of repair work these days. Never mind that we get them rawhide chew bones & other chewable toys. It's much more fun to eat the recliner lever.

I hit a point in writing my play that caused me to shut it down and just ruminate. Sure enough, it worked, and I came up with a major solution, another character I'm calling Aunt Edna, who is loud and funny, a real character for sure. Whew! Just in time. I can see her & hear her. She has short red curly hair & a stocky build. She'll wake things up. So I am rolling again.

Lake Writers this Friday will have two playwrights in attendance, both of whom have had their work locally produced. Mine isn't ready yet for a read-through, but I'll be able to chat with them about my progress.

FYI: About Fred First, the Franklin County Library staff also are fans of his writing. They're going to approach him about an Author's Event this fall, where he can do a media presentation as well as a reading. One of the things I so love about this area is the genuine enthusiasm local writers have about each other. I think Jim Morrison encouraged us all when he started with Valley Writers in Roanoke, then began Lake Writers at Moneta Library. He put together events, getting us out of our shells to read something before groups of 80 or more. And of course Becky, our official nag, directed several of us to Infinity Publishing and then got us Blogging.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rain, Darn it! We need you~

Once I get those pics from Dear Hubby, you will see how very low the Blackwater River is right now. Our small lawn is burning up. We did get a very slight bit of rain from all the lightning and thunder this afternoon, but it was only a promise, not a downpour. It is supposed to rain off & on the rest of this week, and move down from all this 90-degree stuff.

We have a well, so we worry when it gets too dry.

Been busy doing "stuff" rather than writing my play. It's writing itself in my head, but not where it should be. Also have been working a bit on the details of our CoffeeHouse Readings for 8/10. Fred First is going to read, and will have his book, Slow Road Home. He's also working on a media presentation (and he doesn't know this yet) that the FCL plans to feature in the fall. With his great photography, we couldn't give it justice in a 15-minute reading time.

According to Fred's blog, he has his 6-year-old grandchild with him this week, following him around and asking him Why? ...but, Why? and...Why is Dumpa taking a picture of that plant?

Colleen Redman strongly justifies blogging today. Makes me feel all righteous!

Amy, thanks for the tip about salt water. I believe the styptic pencil is basically salt, or something close to that, but it just wouldn't seal the tiny nick. The liquid bandage worked perfectly. She didn't try to scrape it off, either. "Dad" even took her for a ride on his ATV down to the river later on; when they came back, she was sitting right in front of him, ears flying straight back, grin on her face. Darn! I should have had my camera ready. She loves riding on his ATV & he holds her tightly. Yeah, this is MY dog all right!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sadie Mae's Adventure

Dick decided Sadie Mae needed another bath, so he first clipped the mats out of her fur, and accidentally nipped her ear! Well, that tiny nip BLED & of course she shook her head....arghhh! Her golden fur was streaked. We began carefully washing her ear, muzzle, head. Dick put his styptic pencil to work to close up the nip, but it just wouldn't take. Not serious enough to take her to the Vet's, but what to do?

Then it dawned on me: I had some of that liquid bandage and sure enough, it worked like a charm.

Note to Self: Remember this if there's another small injury.

Dick took me down to the river on his ATV & we took some pics. He has to load them onto HIS computer (mine doesn't have a port) & e-mail them to me, so I can post them here. He has accomplished so much down there in the meadow. Some of the trees he took down are neatly stacked for future firewood once he builds a fireplace/BBQ down there. He still has to split the wood...reminds me of all the wood-splitting & hauling we did when we lived in Maine. Dick would go into the woods, cut & limb the trees, pile them onto a skidder & then into his truck, drive home & I'd help him unload the wood down the hill from our home. We'd rent a log splitter & go to town on that wood. Stack it back in his truck, drive up the driveway to unload it & stack it under the front deck. Periodically, we'd move so much wood into the house so we could heat with it. The theory was it took seven (brutal!) steps before you finally got heat from the wood.

And then your furniture would fall apart from the wood heat...

It was never fun moving the ice-cold wood into the basement so it could thaw out.

Nineteen years I helped with that. And you wonder why I decided to retire in the sunny south? Thermostats are my friend.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Sunday Scribblings' prompt this week is HAIR, and as soon as I saw that, the music ran through my head and I remembered seeing the musical in Sacramento when it first came out. What a scandal...I'd heard that at the end, the members of the cast took off all their clothes!

So of course I had to go see it, right? Loved the music, loved the flower children dancing on stage, waving their arms around...and yes, (Gulp!) I joined them but did NOT take off my clothes. Several folks did not. My kids (yeah, I took my kids...this was California in the 70's) dared me to go up on stage. What a trip!

No, not that kind of trip.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Anita, I hardly knew ye~

Living over 3,000 miles apart, your darling daughter married to my dear son, we never really got to know each other. Mike loved you as caring family, never as the much-parodied mother-in-law, and that was enough for me to care as well.

I remember one conversation we had, when I'd lost the diamond out of my ring while swimming at the Y and joked that I'd decided to get a larger stone with the insurance money as a starter, and a significant amount of money on top of that, to which my husband objected. I overrode the objection and you grinned, gave me a sideways look, and...since both our husbands were hunters...remarked that it was about the amount a new shotgun would cost! I knew then that we were on the same wavelength.

Always, it seemed there were other people around us, so the two of us had very little one-on-one time. When Mike was promoted to Colonel, somehow I ended up on the opposite side of that large U-shaped table. I believe you got to sit next to my ex-husband or we had the grandkids between us.

Mike stunned us when he told us about your diagnosis of Parkinson's; he and Jennifer kept us aware of the debilitating disease and the toll it was taking on you, as you went from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair and then began losing your ability to speak. I know Jennifer began taking care of you and Mike did everything possible to support her efforts, caring for the two younger boys and helping greatly with Jennifer's two older boys, moving their family to Montana after his retirement and the beginning of his new career. So much to deal with, yet they handled it.

Anita, I know you lost your brave battle last Saturday morning, ironically at 7 am on 7-7-07. Mike had prepared us, but it was still a shock. Somehow, we'd hoped a medication would be found that would reverse the disease, but it was not to be.

It's such a cliche' to say your death was a blessing, but in this case, we can only agree that you are in a better place. You can walk and talk again, smile and joke once more, and sit in the mornings with your cup of coffee which Jennifer says was a particular joy of yours. I hardly knew ye, Anita, but you are in my heart. Bless you forever.

Of Sadie Mae & Other Things

Well, I celebrated too soon...Sadie Mae, The Dog Who Will Not Come When Called, decided suddenly to respond to the Clicker, something I'd tried with her waaaay back when we first got her. I was ecstatic! So easy, so much better than calling her & calling her, rewarding her with chicken snax when she DID respond, then getting PoopDaddy to call her sternly when she'd decided to run up the driveway instead.

Then, she decided there were more attractive things to do than fly back to the front door. She could romp with Remington, the chocolate Lab puppy. Or chase a wild rabbit (groan!) ... or circle the house with her ballet-like leaps, running so fast the Lab can't keep up. And she knew I would still take her in when she returned, bedraggled and grinning.

Oh well.

More news: My ankle is healing rapidly. When we toured the Hickory Hill Winery, since it was raining, we pretty much stayed in their small facility adjoining the tasting room. Lovely wines! Good prices, too. By the time I got to the Daily Grind coffeeshop in uptown Rocky Mount, Ida B. was ready to leave. I did have a huge cup of their Mocha coffee, covered with whipped cream. Lovely. And I do like David's English accent. So proper.

I had copies of my book with me, but it was too late to get any out. All had left except David & his wife, & Becky of course. Amy: Sorry I didn't have my book with me at the Writers Group meeting. Maybe we can meet up somewhere before next month. I'll e-mail you.

Otherwise, I'll be signing copies at The General Store out at Westlake on Saturday the 28th of this month, 10-2 I believe.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tomorrow, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow...

Songs that go through my head like that! Well, tomorrow is Wednesday, the 11th, which promises to be a busy day indeed. At 11, I'll be at our Rocky Mount Writers Club until noon. Having grabbed a lovely lunch from Edible Vibe on the corner, I'll be heading over with the Eclectic Readers Book Club to tour Hickory Hill Winery out at Westlake.

Hoping for a few minutes to stop at Provisions, that wonderful cookery store near Kroger's at WL to pick up some toaster tongs they've ordered for me. Would you believe I bought a new toaster that looks very 40's...it even has a small metal plaque that looks like the Chrysler emblem on my PT Cruiser...but when the toast pops up, it doesn't actually clear the top of the toaster. Darling design, but poor performance. And you know what happens if someone uses a knife to get the toast out. Ouch!

After the meeting & lunch & tasting at the winery, it's back to Rocky Mount to the Daily Grind, a nice little coffee shop up by the courthouse, where Ida B. Peevish will be holding court. I cannot imagine Ida B. with a dainty cup of tea. She's more a mug of coffee type of person, and she'll probably get her long blonde curls in the mug, too. Ida B. will be giving advice, whether anyone wants it or not, and selling copies of her second book, More Peevish Advice. The picture of her on the front is worth the price of the book alone.

Whew, that's a lot for someone hobbling around on a broken ankle, but if I make it I'll have copies of my book, When Men Move to the Basement. It's a compilation of humorous essays, illustrated by a very talented local artist, Bruce Rae.

Monday, July 09, 2007

About slipping..

The prompt on Sunday Scribblings was to write something about slipping. First that came to mind was this morning's GMA. When they showed some nut who dressed up like a tree, with branches & leaves duct-taped to his head & shoulders, robbing a bank, George Stephanopoulis said: Was he a slippery elm? The whole thing was on their bank security tape, so it'll probably lighten up tonight's news.

Second thought was: I mopped my kitchen floor this morning & the walking cast slipped! I caught myself, but that was foolish. I just used that Swiffer WetMop, so it wasn't like puddles of water, but still...

This cast thing is working really well. I'll be able to wear it all day tomorrow, then on Weds will switch to the driving version so I can get around town. See y'all then!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

No "H" in Appalaccia!

What's funny is, if you Google the word misspelled, Google comes back with something like: It's a hard word to spell, we know.

Peaceful Sunday today. Church in the morning; our pastor was away, so we had a substitute, Marshall Banks, who came over from his Boone's Mill church. Marshall belonged to our church before he studied for the ministry, so we know his dear self. And what a passionate preacher he is! Just delightful. The passion is real, too, not at all put on.

Then a brief stop at Kroger's & when I got home and finally read the Sunday paper, there were all these coupons for things I had just brought home. Even the bread, for heaven's sake.

Dick drove me down our old side road to the river...me & Sadie Mae, that is. She is now attached to his side with Velcro. He's had loads of gravel trucked in as heretofore, he's only been able to go down there with his ATV. His plan is to finish the road, get the meadow cleared, then plant grass and put up a picnic table or two under the trees, and build a cinderblock grill right beside the Blackwater River. I'm so excited! We've talked about doing this for years, and now he's started the project.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Villa Appalacchia visit~

We had a lovely time up at Villa Appalacchia winery today. The twisty road, with fantastic views on nearly every turn, was a drive I've always enjoyed. (Flatlanders beware! It can be upsetting to someone unused to these mountains.)

The Floyd Festival was going on just before we arrived at VA; we could see hundreds of cars parked on a grassy hill & could hear Blue Grass music from the distance. At the Villa, though, there was a small group of people although they had run out of their little baskets of cheese, salami and proscuitto just as we arrived. We convinced them to search the kitchen, since Dick could not eat pizza, their special today. Lo & behold, they found enough to fill one basket, leaving out the bread of course.

Actually, they had raised the advertised price of the pizza & glass of wine; I think Dick got the bargain, and he shared it with the three of us. We sat on the covered stone porch, where a nice breeze kept us pleasantly cool on a 90-degree day.

We did the wine tasting ($3 each) & it was lovely, so of course we all bought bottles of our favorites. I definitely recommend their Raspberry wine...they began offering it when a farmer brought a truck load of fresh raspberries to the winery sometime back. They made a very fresh-tasting dessert wine (not at all sweet) that simply tastes of raspberries. Nice for an after-dinner treat.

A lovely drive, a delightful afternoon with friends, sipping Italian wine and looking out over the mountains. Perfect for someone who is getting a good bit of cabin fever these days.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sadie Mae update

Sadie Mae has taken on a rather shaggy, chenille-looking coat. I really do not want to get her clipped, but may take her in to a new little shop that opened in Burnt Chimney. Dick complains that her light coat picks up everything...

Last night, he decided to take her into the shower with him, along with her doggie shampoo. Know what, it worked really, really well! He scrubbed her twice and she came out so clean. I dried her with the blower set on low and she was so happy once she hit the floor again that she did her joyful leaps totally across the foyer (maybe 3.5 or 4 feet?) & on around the house, her mouth open, grinning. Run, run, run..LEAP...run, run, run...LEAP

She still bonds with him, and now I'm sure it'll be even worse...I'll have to call him PoopDaddy. She goes out with me & chases butterflies & ants with terrier dedication, totally ignoring the reason she is outside. But when Dick takes her out & says: OK, Poop! she basically looks at him as if to say, "Of course, oh Master. What color would you like?" & squats.

She is supposed to be MY puppy. I believe she thinks I am HER puppy. (Bark!...give me a treat...Bark!...my water dish is empty)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Frankenstein Ankle Boot!

MRI results showed yet another hairline fracture, this one on the left side (where the swelling and pain have been excruciating) of my right foot. Fortunately, no ligament or tendon damage shows up.

So I am now wearing a walking-cast padded black boot to totally immobilize that foot & ankle. Clomp, clomp...like Frankenstein clomping around the castle.

In order to drive (only short distances, of course) I can switch to the splint-brace. I will have 2-3 weeks to wear the clomper. But I'm happy there will be no surgery involved, and no actual cast. Life is good! And the doctor ordered a refill on the pain med, so I'll be a happy camper for those 2-3 weeks...

Tomorrow is Lake Writers at the Moneta Library. Good news in the recent paper: we'll have our new (only!) branch of the FCLibrary near the Lake Kroger's by the end of the year, beginning of next year. We'll probably move Lake Writers to that location once the library branch is completed, which I hope won't discourage our Bedford writers from attending. But all that will be decided by the group itself.

Saturday, we're off to Villa Appalacchia for a taste of Tuscany. Ciao!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday of a quiet week to come

I'm not a fireworks person, despite growing up in Washington DC and watching the big display from the hill near my high school.

I loved the reactions of my kids, raising them on a cul-de-sac in Carmichael, CA, where all of us with little kids would pitch in to buy huge amounts of fireworks & set them off safely in the street circle, putting our lawn chairs in our driveways to watch. Then we'd have homemade peach ice cream before we dragged the kids inside for bath-time and bed. And the adults would return outside and visit over a glass or two of wine. Those are my good memories...

After that, though, fireworks got bigger and louder as did my kids. Divorced, I moved to a townhouse where fireworks were not allowed. We had to drive miles, sit on hard bleacher seats, and pay an admission fee...about then, my teens decided they were much too old for such childish displays. This was fine with their Mom!

Years later, second marriage, move to rural Maine into a part-log home on a hill. Hubby and I would drive just a few miles to an old restored one-room schoolhouse where we could watch the fireworks from a distance. If we wanted to. But the oooooohs and aaaaaahs of toddlers are to me the best part of those evenings, and our grandchildren live many miles away from us. We can only imagine....

Sunday, July 01, 2007

How have I missed Fred First?

Yes, he was at our FCL Book Fest last year, and Yes, he was on the cover of Prime Living, and Yes, I actually did meet him (one of Colleen Redman's Floyd Friends) but reading his blog and seeing his incredible photography brought him sharply into focus!

His book, Slow Road Home, is on Amazon with several of his pictures. His poetic writing about Floyd and how he landed there is evident in his blog, and certainly is the topic of his book.

Visit Fred's blog at http://www.fragmentsfromfloyd.com.

I can't believe I didn't buy a copy of his book when he was here in Rocky Mount, but I absolutely do want one. He also has notecards with some of his pictures; in fact, he has the book and the notecards together.

I feel like I'm waking up from a long nap.