Wednesday, April 16, 2014


driving away from the mountain you pass Hickman's
we usually gas up here

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An afternoon trip to Monticello

Monticello, April 2014

the gardens at Monticello, April 2014

We visited Monticello on Thursday. They were hosting a function, so much of the house was off limits to tours because they were setting up for the function and there were large catering tents in the yard. But it was still a wonderful visit. I haven't been in probably 20 years and my children haven't been at all. I just took 3 of the kids. Dragon was off with his friend, and the two littles wouldn't have paid any attention and would have made it hard for others to pay attention so we left them with my husband who was working from home.

Interesting. When Jefferson chose that Mountain Top to build his home on all those years ago he chose it for the view. But there is no water source. (!) Think about that. Pre-plumbing, no water source. I wonder how much slave labor went into providing the house and grounds with water?

on the way home. She picked up the Smithsonian Edition of Jefferson's Bible.
It is something to think about, that Jefferson could read in 7 languages. I picked up Ellis' "The American Sphinx." I've wanted to read it for some time. Of course, I'm still making my way through the introduction and I've already realized I'm going to need to read Ellis' book on Adams too.

It was a quick decision to go visit the house and not well thought out. There is much to see and do and it really should be a day trip. They have a cafe (we taste tested the cakes and coffee. not too shabby) and there is a cemetery that is not part of the foundation but that is run by Jefferson's decedents and apparently still "active." They had 3 or 4 burials last year. And Jefferson is buried there.

Most importantly though, the kids want to return. They want to see the whole house, and the oldest wants to take the garden tour. And they all learned something and have fun too. 

the art of selfie, and duckface. but it proves that I too was there!

Footnote: I'm in a mommy group within my alumni group on Facebook and a woman who is an Auntie but I don't believe a mom brought to our attention that we never are in the photos. And then she brought a blog post to our attention about the messages this sends our kids regarding their "invisible mothers" and especially the messages it sends our daughters. So above is my attempt to be in the photos and still be fun and not worried about how I look.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


there are these homes across from where I live. They aren't quite town homes. They are smallish, quasi colonial buildings all nestled together. I think there are 3 or 4 little streets making up this group of homes. Very quaint. I imagine myself in one all the time; they look bookish. Perfect for a girl, her dog, her books, a place to scribble...

The other day I mapped out my children's ages and realized it will be 14 years before my youngest finishes high school. If everyone goes the traditional route we will begin the college years in 2 years and we won't finish for 18. Some years we will have 3 in college at once. But there isn't a year in those 18 years when we don't have at least one in school. Maybe when that is all over, if there is anything left, I'll move into one of these homes. 

I am always restless in the spring and the fall. And think about silly things like that. I think it is because those seasons are about transitions and I grew up moving around. 

"April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain"
T.S. Eliot
linking to Outdoor Wednesday Linkup

Friday, April 4, 2014

spring fragrance

cherry blossoms!

My Facebook status this week: when you realize your seven year told the truth, she didn't spray perfume on herself. She sprayed it on the dog. Not that ridiculous tinkerbell stuff her grandmother insists on supplying her with, nope, the German Shepherd is lounging around a la Chanel CoCo Mademoiselle. Hope she's got big plans. It would be a shame to waste it.

I love the "confetti" they make on the lawn
linking to Outdoor Wednesday link up

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Training in the Rain

it was *really wet!

All of the these photos are from Tidewater Schutzhund Club's Facebook page and were taken by Jose Antonio Mercado. Jose takes some incredibly pictures.

The thing about the German Shepherd is that it doesn't mind weather unless it is too hot. But even then if the dog is working or its drive is up you have to keep an eye on it because it will push through and over heat.

Yesterday was a miserable day of pouring down rain, and Thalia, and the two littles and I loaded up the truck and went to Schutzhund Training. I told Nader (our training director) that I *had to come. Wretched Weather is my MO. When I first started checking this group out I it seemed like I visited exclusively on days with ugly weather and the second or third time Nader said "oh right, your the girl that only comes when the weather is bad." I need muck boots though for tracking, I skipped tracking because I didn't want to ruin my runners. And better rain gear. And maybe, is it possible? good but cute rain gear?

Funny thing, the two shepherds at training yesterday and the Belgian Malinois (two of them also) did not seem bothered by the rain like I've already noted. The Rottweiler, the Doberman and Napo (I think he's a Presa Canario) were fine to work in the rain as long as they were standing. They didn't want to sit in it. They definitely didn't want to lie down. So they all hovered just above the ground. It was hilarious.

working "heel" is proving tricky. 

she's focused, doesn't even notice that puddle

then again, the puddles didn't bother her either

if you live in the area check out Tidewater Schutzhund Club
it is a great place to train your dog

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Greensprings Trail

It is cold again. And it was windy today. brrr...
but clear and sunny too. Took the dogs out for a bit mid day along Greensprings Trail.  We startled some deer, were fussed at by a large bird (I couldn't see it clearly up in the trees. Maybe a hawk?) and I kicked in a track in the field behind the housing development.  I had great plans to lay a long track with two turns and work on articles... but it was freezing. So I kicked in a short track with two turns and called it "good."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Eagle Swoop

that big smile is cause we are breaking for lunch!

hitting serious bumps on Outer Limits

lift photo! The Highlands