Monday, May 2, 2016

A few weeks ago at Chincoteague

iphone photo, marshes, assateague island, virginia, water
marshes, Assateague Island

We did finally make it to Chincoteague over spring break. And it was cool, and breezy and we loved it. If you've never been I recommend it, and give yourself at least a full day. We arrived late as we were not able to leave until midday. And we could have spent more time. We walked to the lighthouse. And then took another walking path out to the beach. There were plenty of birds in the marshes and I cannot identify most of them, I'm not a birder, but I saw plenty of red winged blackbirds in the tall marsh grass calling to each other. On our way back to the car we passed several cars pulled to the side and people were outside with binoculars. We asked what they were looking at. They pointed out an eagle's nest and the eagle inside it and the other keeping an eye on the nest from another tree. There is an eagle cam, they said, but it was knocked down in high winds so they are waiting for the babies to fly off and then the video camera will be repaired, or replaced. They offered their binoculars to the kids and they were able to see the eagle in the nest, presumably sitting on eggs. We didn't see any ponies at all. I mentioned this later in social media and a friend from dog training answered that for me. He is both a firefighter and a horseman and has some ties to Assateague. He said the mares are foaling so the ponies are quiet now.

inside the museum

egg preservation display

just outside the museum, evidence of ponies

ocean view, assateague, april, iphone

horseshoe crab, shells, beach

K would like to return. There are camp sites on the island, and bikes are encouraged. There is a Best Western Plus just across the bridge from the island. You could ride your bike in if you were so inclined. Do check the National Park for rules. No dogs allowed on the island at all. It makes sense with the ponies, but I'm glad I looked before we drove out there. Hiking with the canines is a favorite activity for me and I would have automatically brought them. (I do wish dog owners would agree to bring animals on leashes, keep them on leashes and not allow them to bother indigenous animals though. There are an increasing number of National Parks with "no dogs allowed" rules. Ruining it for the rest of us.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

staying in

Today I'd planned to take the kids out to Chincoteague Island - we've never been. But the weather changed and the temperature dropped and today it is in the 40's and windy and feels like 30's. Now, we are outside winter people. A day that feels like 30's when you are skiing is quite warm. But I've got a guest at the house without proper clothes and 30's and windy for a hike around an island sounded a bit - well - like a "hardy day" but not really a fun one to be quite frank. So we are putting it off and will try again Thursday.

So I'm doing a few house chores and then cutting up some knit fabric I picked up to try out a new pattern for the shop.

a fun knit by Doodles Dot to Dot

the only fabric store in town in Joann's. They are well stocked in quilt cotton and fleece and then have some seasonal apparel fabrics thrown in. You can see how few people are actually sewing clothes these days by the fabric selections. But Joann's does carry a line by Doodles Dot to Dot that is only sold through their stores and I thought this knit would make a cute summer top for my girls.

they call it a chevron pattern, I just like the colors

I'll post the finished product shortly. (well, hopefully!)

and here it is! Super Cute!
chevron, whigs & tories, doodles dot to dot, knit, summer 2016

whigs & tories, chevron, doodles dot to dot, summer 2016, girls fashion, kids fashion

This pattern is called Desert Breeze and is from the collection of Striped Swallow Designs. This is the third pattern I've purchased from them. I find the directions very easy to follow and the patterns turn out super cute. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Virginia Capitol Building in Richmond

It is Spring Break week for our schools. As we tend to spend all our energy and resources during ski season the last few years spring break has been low key... a 'stay-cation' I think they call it these days.

Today we grabbed a friend and headed to Richmond to see the Capitol Building. Some of the kids have been before. The schools used to take them. But M hasn't been with school and while she has been - it was quite some time ago. She was probably in pre-school.

It was a beautiful day!
blue sky over the Capitol Building

pretty red, white & blue!

WTCS316, Whigs & Tories, Spring, Paris, Tunic, Lavender, handmade, made in the usa, made in virginia
two cuties!

practicing his "future dignitary on a park bench" pose

I'm linking up with Backyard Neighbor's Blue Monday in honor of Sally

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SOLs - ugh

who doesn't hate them?
the teacher hate them. the kids hate them. the parents hate them.
Here I am getting myself into trouble being quoted in someone's article about SOLs in Virginia:

Here is my thing. The teachers are stress cases because there are incidents in the school we attend where teachers are evaluated based on the scores of the children in their classrooms. This is asinine. 1/2 our kids are on free lunch. We send over 40 care packages home every Friday with students so they will have something to eat over the weekend. You think they are doing homework? They are trying to survive. Testing them is not helping. Teachers teaching to the test instead of focusing on the building blocks of education is not helping. Taking away hands on learning experiences in favor of drilling exercises is not helping.

I have a student with special needs in the school and her needs are not being addressed because it is more important to teach her to pass an SOL with a calculator than it is to teach her basic math skills. So they will give her a calculator. She is a stress case. Her fingernails are bitten to the bone. Her binder has been destroyed. She sneaks food into her desk because she soothes by oral sensation. She is miserable. She should not be learning multiplication because she cannot read a word problem and understand if she should be adding or subtracting. So how about we take a step back and figure out where she is and work from there? No. She has an SOL to take so they are focused on making sure she passes the SOL.

This is making our kids less creative. Less creative kids are not problem solvers. They are useless at work. Ask employers. America we are not fixing our education problem we are making it worse.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter at Nana's

We were up for 8:30 Mass at St. Bede's and then over to Nana's for Easter Breakfast. She made waffles served with fresh strawberries and your choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream (or both).

I love taking pictures at Nana's. Her house has so much depth - color, texture, detail, cozyiness. Awesome.
bungalow, j crew sweater, mary mulhare, mulhare interior design
breakfast at Nana's

Miss Piggy & Kermit date way back
Thumper. Nana claims that she bought him when she was 5 years old.
behind Thumper is the syrup (only Vermont real Maple will do) on
a platter engraved from Familia Mesa, friends from Badajoz in the 1980s
after breakfast the table is cleared for games
"Mexican Train" a Dominoes game

little guys playing with chess pieces, pink sundress by Whigs & Tories
Easter details 

kitchen details, interior design, mulhare interior design
the pie piece from my childhood

After games the children sent Nana on a hunt to find her Easter Basket which they had hidden in her house. They did a good job hiding it - took her a few minutes to find it! Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Eggs & Pussy Willow

When we lived in Bitburg Germany my mother bought miniature wooden eggs from one of the markets she attended with friends and we decorated Pussy Willow boughs. Her mother used to purchase Pussy Willow in the spring - but I don't know that they decorated them. A few years ago I was at World Market and saw little wooden eggs. They are not as ornate as the ones my mother bought in Germany, but they triggered a nostalgic memory none the less and so I bought them.

whigs & tories, girl clothes, handmade clothes, spring
a bucket full of eggs and two smiling girls

they were laughing at me because I was struggling with the camera

Bitsy in her new Spring in Paris top. Love it!

I've often thought it would be nice to purchase a Pussy Willow plant. There is plenty of water in the back of my house, I bet we could grow one. I found a good link for them: French Pussy Willow Tree

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee

I just finished the book last night.
It is interesting to read it just after Toni Morrison's Beloved.

Both about women.
Both about survival.
Both women defy the archetype of "woman" that permeates Western Art & Lit. Neither are good mothers or caretakers, but they are not sirens either. Aren't those the two predominate women in stories, good-giving-nurturing or evil-seductive-destructive?

No June, like Sethe, is a survivor.

June is a mother but not a caretaker. And as Hector asks her if she would care for him if their situations were reversed she states "I've never taken care of anybody."

Additionally June challenges Western stereotypes of Asian women. There is of course the Asian Fetish (which I've been told by an Asian Man exists regardless of gender.) And there is the submissive female: at home, cooking and cleaning and walking behind her man.

I feel funny trying to describe for anyone a book written by a Princeton Professor. But I'll say that it is very interesting to read. The descriptions of the Korean War and the orphanage coincide with what little I know about it, as well as what little I understand of Korean Culture, and add color and depth to my understanding. As the mother to Korean Adoptees this history of Americans adopting war orphans from Korea which leads to the current adoption culture between the two countries evokes a complicated response.

I am always frustrated by authors who flip through time, memories, now the present, a different person's memories, now the present. I like a linear story. That said, the characters are not ones I meet often. Nothing here feels done before or cliche and everything feels plotted out, indeed I wonder if I missed some of the story somewhere.

Should you read it? Well, I suppose so. It is a good book. It is well written, complicated and different.
Here is what Terrence Rafferty of the New York Times has to say about it: