Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Hot Stuff

There should have been a prize for guessing
and if there had been
it would have gone to
who definitely
keeps tabs on what we are up to.
Whether we’re driving in SC
or getting a furnace in VA.
Way to go Nancy!!

After 4 YEARS of heating
with wood
negotiating with bids and contracts,
the FINAL inspection was done
and the house has a

Out with the 35 year old
(notice supervisor Bosco)

including its hole.
 Ray going "down underground"
which is a 14” high space at its deepest <yikes>
Alan building complex duct work
which was insulated and put
in the now EMPTY attic
(see Sunday March 20 Blog)

Alan and Travis added new fresh air and exhaust pipes
And then…………..
In with the new
which required Jim, Jeff, Ray and Alan in the closet :-)

Here she is
in her new home under the stairs
taking up nearly all the space
in one of the only closets
in this old farmhouse


along with new AC

and new propane tank!

Betty came from the county offices,
gave it the final inspection approval

and we’re up and running. 
Just in time for snow and rain
and temps 20 degrees below normal  L
Hats off to
Clyde E Smith Heating & Air Conditioning
who did a fabulous job!

Once they got the nod
they were here in a flash
with plenty of guys who
were efficient, 
thorough and tidy.
Once they left,
other than great working heat,
you couldn’t tell they’d been here.

the farmhouse has a

First Tires and now furnace
That’s two
checks off the list
before we can

Still have more on
the list to check off
but those are the biggest.

Awnings and slide toppers,
a water heater leak,
a small hydraulic leak,
cell phone to upgrade,
and of course
hey there’s a week
or even 9 days if we
to have it.

Wish us luck!!!
(still can’t promise to be at the rally before Monday but we’re really trying)

OH for heaven's sake

Normal temps here at this time of year
are in the low 60's.
We've been having upper 60's and into 70's.

But here's what we got this morning..............
(yes that’s right 33)
remember that beautifully blooming
spring Magnolia tree
Carrie was standing by last Saturday????

Usually Cheery daffodils hanging their heads

TOTALLY time for us to get
out of here
and get these kayaks
out of their shack
and onto the water!!

Big news coming in the next day or so
Can you guess what????

Clean OUT continues............

Birthdays end at midnight
we did keep eating the cake all day today.  J
Yum, yum!

Had a great farm breakfast as you can see.
More YUM YUM!!

 And then set out to empty the attic.

Found  NINE empty suitcases used for previous travels.
  Out they go.
Got Winnona just in time.
No “body scans” or paying to check luggage.

Golden Books inside one suitcase
and two trunks with Carrie’s childhood toys,
duplos, blocks,
Cabbage Patch
and American Girls Dolls and clothing.
Dress up clothes including silver and gold lame heels
I think they were a size nine. 
You know how GREAT they looked on
8 year olds!! 
they can do everything
those ruby slippers could do

Purple Play phones
more heavily used then than the real thing is now  J
As well as animals and dolls made by hand
in the 30’s and 40’s
by her namesake,
her Great Great Aunt Carrie.

Good Morning and Good Night Doll. 
One face on the front,
and the other on the back

A Kermit the frog made in the 80’s just for her
and a manufactured Phineas frog

Lots of memories.

Did you still have the toys of your grown up kids
stored somewhere in your house?? 
Or what about your parents?
Do they have your toys stored???
(that question’s for you Nellie and all the other "youngsters"!!)

Spring Equinox & the Late Birthday

I did “Book Festival Lite” this year
in order to spend Saturday and Sunday
celebrating the
Spring Equinox
Carrie’s February 7th birthday
more than a month late.  J
It’s sad for parents when the kids grow up
and aren’t able to be home for their birthdays
but we just have a party the next time
she is here and
that’s just what we did.

Mother Nature showed herself in fine form

I am very glad to see the waxing of the days.
Every day now will be longer than the one before.
More time outside!

In our family, you are
King or Queen for the Day
when we celebrate your birthday.
So dinner was Carrie’s request.
Red Bean Toss.  A family favorite
(sorry it’s on the wrong side of the table
AND we didn’t take a close up.  It’s delicious)


And then
Anyone following this blog for very long
has seen this cake in MANY incarnations
Yummy rich moist chocolate cake
with mmmm good
Butter cream icing
and LOTS of it.

The Cake Baker and his "assistant".

Licking the bowl in an her cooking Apron I made in 1982
Hand embroidered name and all.

She hadn’t quite grown into it at age 2.
 DIG those glasses Man!!.
This time the cake was a dual celebration.
Green for the Equinox and
Decorated for the birthday.
31 Best Year Yet
 But not SO many candles
And of course there were presents. 
she’s still just like a kid
in loving that even if it looks like
one gift
what fun to find
several others wrapped inside

But the author of the card
wasn’t paying attention
when she wrote it and it turned out
upside down
which caused
quite a bit of laughter and teasing.
Oh well……
the older we get………..

Cake started the party.
After which we watched a PBS special that none
of us had seen when it was shown on TV in January.
A friend had seen it and sent me the DVD
It’s entitled “Chautauqua: An American Narrative”

Chautauqua was a part of my summer
and our summers for many years. 
I was able to spend the entire “season” there
for several years just before I caught the RV bug.
It is such a special place and
hard to describe but 
this Special did about as good a job as can be done I think.

Guess who was on the screen close up
not once but THREE times
watching the most fantastic young pianist

he’s ever anywhere
within miles of you
pass up the chance to see this virtuoso.
 And if you get a chance to see this special,
look for me. 

Then it was time for games. 
Birthday girl brought out 3
and chose to play canasta
She and her father had Chocolate Stout
He beat us SOLIDLY the last time
But we got revenge and skunked the old man. 
She the first game and I the second
I know, you shouldn't beat the Birthday Girl
but all's fair in love and CANASTA.
Time for bed but more food and fun tomorrow……………..

Books, BOOKS and MoRE bOOks

Just came back to Earth from Heaven

One of my FAVORITE events of the year
took place Wednesday through Sunday
The Virginia Festival of the Book

Each year hundreds of writers come to town
To talk about their books in presentations and panels
There are multiple events in multiple locations each hour
From 9AM to 8PM for 5 days.

The city, the county, local businesses and the
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
sponsor these
And for the most part they are free
(which is becoming harder and harder to do as you can imagine)

Unfortunately I was
That I took very few pictures.

I attended an event entitled
Virginia Stories: History and Geography”
About The Canal on the James (river that is) and The Great Dismal Swamp and The Great Valley Road of Virginia.

A multimedia presentation and talk by astronomer Stephen Martin about his book
Cosmic Conversations

This was a  discussion panel at the main library
all 3 authors did good presentations and readings
Their books sounded very interesting.

The woman on the right discovered
A picture she’d never seen before
when going through her father’s things after his death.
It was her mother at age 13 dressed in traditional Iranian Wedding Dress
standing next to an older man she was obviously not so
happily going to marry. 
The author was totally unaware that her mother
had a previous life and marriage in Iran
including another daughter.
The book  The Good Daughter is the story of the author’s grandmother and mother
and the life her mother ran away from.

I would love to read it but can't add one more thing to
the weight in the RV.  Hope I can find it somewhere somehow to read.

The woman in the middle grew up in a strict Amish family
and was forced, as is their custom, to leave school in the 8th grade.
She struggled and struggled with that limitation in her life and
eventually left everything she knew to pursue her education.
My Life With The Amish would also be an interesting and informative read.

The male author wrote about his experience as a secular humanist
dealing with his 3 year old son coming home from pre-school
and asking if he knew who God was and what he did
His book was entitled
Between a Church and A Hard Place: One Faith Free Dad's Struggle to Understand what it means to be Religious (or not)
Another I hope to find on the road.

I attended poetry readings
in bookstores.


Overflowing crowds sitting on stairs

Presentations in City Council chambers

And in Outdoor gear stores. 
This is Blue Ridge Mountain Sports
The young woman in orange wrote
Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail.
She has now hiked it 3 times since her first hike at age 21 when she had never been backpacking ONE TIME
and DID NO training
for this 2100 mile hike. 
Her last Hike done in 57 days
broke the women’s time record for hiking the trail
and this summer
she plans to try to break the men’s record
which will require that she hike FORTY FIVE miles a day.  

 I attended GREAT talks on Environmental books from authors
who looked much happier when they were talking than here while
they were waiting 


The ENTIRE town turns into a bibliophile’s dream

There are Forums on publishing, sci fi, how to write a mystery.
Gatherings of mystery writers
children’s book writers

Book events for children

Check it out at www.vabook.org

I won’t drag it out by detailing any more events. 
Suffice it to say
That this year I
myself to
Of the HUNDREDS of events
Going on Wednesday through Saturday.

And that took
serious self control
I’ve actually been able to learn from
My past mistakes over the 17 years
that the festival and I have
been meeting like this
and I know
that I won’t make it past
Thursday if I don’t control myself!!

I pretty much did nothing else
at least Wednesday through Friday

I know, I know,
I should have been
Getting ready to get

But I couldn’t help myself
It was here, I was here and I had to do it!

Just couldn’t leave that cookie on the plate.
But then
Life IS all about

Livin’ it
Lovin’ it

I had a

 that wasn’t the only thing happening this week-end…….
(check back tomorrow for the big Equinox/Birthday week-end post)

Do you have an special annual event that you just hate to miss??