Monthly Archives: March 2011

Sharing 42 out of 276 (pictures, that is)

My BFF came for a visit over the weekend.

Red Fox Inn

Peanut Soup at the Red Fox InnWe had a lovely lunch at the Red Fox Inn: peanut soup and crab cake sandwiches. Yum!

This historic inn located in the town of Middleburg has been in business since 1728.

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We spent the better part of one day exploring Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryAcross the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry is the C&O Canal and Towpath. The Railroad and the C&O Canal were in competition with one another. In the end, the trains were faster and cheaper. The C&O Canal Towpath is now a lovely trail for hiking and biking.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry is nearly the half-way point on the Appalachian Trail.  It is also the site of John Brown’s fort.

This town changed hands 8 times during the Civil War.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers FerryIt’s a long way up these steps to the place where Thomas Jefferson wrote eloquently about the view… but it’s worth it.  Along the way you will pass a church that escaped shelling during the Civil War by flying the British “Union Jack” flag, proclaiming that it took no sides — neither North nor South. You will also pass a church that did not have the same luck.

[click to embiggen]

Harpers Ferry

Jefferson Rock at Harpers FerryAbove is the spectacular view (from Jefferson Rock) that so moved Thomas Jefferson:  the meeting of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers amongst mountains and rocky valley.

Here is where we could travel southward on the Appalachian Trail, if only we had time…

The Appalachian Trail at Harpers Ferry

But it is time to leave Harpers Ferry.

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We had a busy weekend…

Not only did we visit Middleburg and Harpers Ferry, we managed to visit two wineries and attended a Guinness St. Patrick’s Day party.
Thank you, SuperDad, for being our designated driver! 😀

Jake & the Burtones
KCINNOTX actually liked Jake & the Burtones (above) better than The Acoustic Burgoo (below), but being up near the front and actually being able to hear them clearly might have influenced her impressions. The Acoustic Burgoo

On Sunday, we traveled into The City for a museum and a foot-killing, pain-filled tour of the monuments.

World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial (Atlantic)
World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

[click to embiggen]

Vietnam War Memorial,
a.k.a., “The Wall”

[As with all pictures, click to embiggen]

statue of soldiers near Vietnam Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial
Gratuitous heads of school children being photographed by their leader, left in photograph for perspective.

(Below) View from the Lincoln Memorial toward Washington Memorial. The Reflecting Pool has been drained for maintenance since October 2010.

Korean War Memorial
I very much would like to see this Korean War Memorial at night,  on a dark, rainy day or a foggy, misty morning. The statues portray soldiers sweeping through field and brush in miserable weather. Our beautiful, sunny Spring day did not do this memorial justice.

Not that I’m complaining about the weather!

early cherry blossoms

In another week or two, the Tidal Basin will be filled with the reflection of Cherry Blossoms. For now, there is the promise of blooms in bud and a haze of pink on the distant trees.

Speaking of promise… here are a few photos from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. His message is appropriate for today’s world:
words of FDR

soup kitchen line, FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial
FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

It was a wonderful weekend.

I treasure our friendship and I especially appreciated the good times together (and the good weather!) while taking my mind off other things.

Tomorrow I’ll be “flying the friendly skies.”
I’ll be silent from blogging for a few weeks while I am visiting my mother. She had cancer surgery last week and I am going to be her post-surgery caregiver.

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Ten on Tuesday

Since I’ve been lax on posting lately (don’t worry, it’s about to get worse), I thought I’d steal this meme from Jen. When in doubt, meme!

1.  What condiments are always, always in your fridge?
Ranch dressing, ketchup, mayo, various mustards (we’re exciting that way)

2.   How do you like your steak cooked?  Your burgers?
Medium well for both

3.  What’s your favorite use for fresh tomatoes?
These have to be fresh from the garden! For years, I hated tomato unless it was in ketchup form. Now I can appreciate a garden-fresh tomato, sliced and eaten plain (although I’m told a dash of salt is nice) — second favorite is a tomato, mozzarella, and herb salad with olive oil.

4.  What’s your go-to dinner when you haven’t planned anything in advance and you don’t feel like going out?
My kids cheer if I serve ramen with a can of pork’n’beans. We call it “grub.”  Tuna noodle casserole is a quick second, as it literally only takes 15 minutes to make.

5.  What’s your favorite snack food lately?
Roasted almonds, made with just a tiny bit of coconut oil and sea salt

6.  What’s your favorite weekend breakfast to make at home?
Weekend breakfast? That implies something fancy… I don’t do fancy. Typical Saturday breakfast for me is old-fashioned oatmeal with wheat germ and blueberries.  On Sundays, I’m lucky to get a cup of coffee before heading out the door to church.

7.  What’s your favorite thing to grill?  How do you do it?
I prefer to leave the grilling to my husband, who prepares lovely garden-fresh veggies all summer long, but I’m happy to grill pork chops with some garlic salt and herbs.

8.  What’s your favorite wine for under $10? If you’re not a wine person, what brand of beer is your favorite? ~I suppose if you don’t care for either, make something up!~
We usually buy a big bottle of Frontera cab/merlot blend for about $8-9.

9.  Give us your most delicious cocktail recipe.
My husband likes a traditional gimlet (2 oz gin, 1/2 oz Rose’s lime juice) but I prefer a margarita (1 oz tequila, 1 oz triple sec, 1 oz lime juice — Rose’s if you prefer it sweeter, regular lime juice otherwise) served over ice.

10.  How do you like your eggs?
Cooked  😉

Friday 5: A penny for your thoughts

It’s high time for a Friday Five, so those pennies will add up to a nickel today.

1. My BFF flew in for a visit last night. I’m excited to be able to share a few of my favorite things with her this weekend!

2. I very much want her to make future visits, so I personally cleaned the hall bathroom (a.k.a., the boys’ bathroom) instead of just sending the boys to do it.

3. Boys don’t notice dirt and mess, nor do they seem to appreciate clean.  What’s up with that? (I’m talking about grime, not just clutter.)

4. Decluttering is such a hard thing for me to do. Once I let the clutter in, it mixes with important things and I have trouble sorting it all out, especially when it comes to papers and paperwork.  But even beyond things easily recycled, I have to keep reminding myself:  Just because it is useful or pretty doesn’t mean I should keep it.

5. My mom had cancer surgery on Tuesday. I’ll be flying out there next week to be her caregiver until the end of the month.

Hope

Hope springs forth again —
in form of opening buds,
green pokes through soil

Giving up facebook

So. The short of the matter is, I’ve given up facebook for Lent.
The problem is, I announced that I was doing it on my facebook status.

I’m not claiming to be “religious” — I didn’t do it to get pats on the back from anyone (myself included) or for the attention (the wow-factor), and I can’t even claim that I’m “faithfully” using that time for introspection or prayer (although it wouldn’t hurt).

It’s actually simpler than that. I find myself turning to social media — e-mail, blogs, and facebook — when I feel the desire to interact with someone, to have a relationship, to communicate. And that’s all well and good.  But sometimes I think it might be my go-to reaction, the thing I do instead of calling a friend or meeting face-to-face… or stopping to pray. As a Christian, I believe that God calls us into relationship with Him. Now what kind of relationship is it if I don’t spend time and effort on nurturing that relationship? (Answer: not a very good one.)

But by announcing my departure from fb for the season of Lent, I stepped into a questionable zone and I need to stop and look at my motives.

The message (sermon, homily… whatever you want to call it) at the Ash Wednesday service was based on Jesus’ instructions about righteousness:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 6:1, New International Version]

The pastor talked about how many folks (and yes, on facebook!) were discussing what they were giving up for Lent, and how this *could* be seen as announcing ones righteousness aloud in the temple and on the street corner – a sort of look at me! Look what I am doing! I was horrified to think that my announced absence from fb might have a root in that. Whether or not it does (and I didn’t want it to be!), it can certainly read that way to people. Now, the pastor knows me pretty well and I think she knows that was not my intent when I posted my status.

I actually gave up facebook for Lent last year, too, but I did not announce my departure. I’m rather ashamed to admit that I was quiet about it because I didn’t think I could stay away for that long. I didn’t want to say I was doing it and then fail right in front of everyone. (Pride rears its ugly head.) But I felt badly about missing friends’ birthdays during those 7 weeks. I didn’t want them to feel ignored. (Honestly? For the most part, I doubt they noticed).

For me, fb is a huge time suck. On a regular visit, I might go on for “just 5 minutes” but that can turn into 90 minutes pretty easily.  There’s always plenty of things that need to get done in a day and whatever time I have gets filled SOMEHOW, with SOMETHING.  I am trying to reclaim my time as a gift from God and to use it more wisely. Now if only I had worded it that way on my facebook status!
Because it’s less of a “giving up for Lent” thing and more of an intentional focus on what God wants me to discover about my relationship with Him.

And that was the message at church on Wednesday night:  to examine your heart, your life, and ask if there is something in the way of having a relationship with God.

No longer an ostrich

Edited to add: I’m sure you’ve heard or read the news today about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  It makes my own worries pale in comparison.
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Google Images is my friend :D|
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This weekend begins the long process of selling our house. We’ve set up a couple of interviews with Realtors and will hopefully be able to quickly choose which one to work with over the next few months. In preparation, I’ve been doing a lot of decluttering (I’ve written before about being overwhelmed by stuff) and sadly packing away some of my craft supplies in advance.

We haven’t done it yet, but since it is nearly mid-March, I think we can safely pack away and store all of the winter supplies in a rental unit somewhere  to  make the  house look bigger show off the amazing storage space we have in our house. (Really, we do have amazing amounts of storage space. We just have too much STUFF!)

I’m steeling myself for the changes the Realtors will suggest to make the house “show” better.  Criticism, even constructive criticism, isn’t easy to take, but I think I’m ready.

Not quite biblical in proportion

With early Spring comes abundant rainfall, and we are certainly getting our share of it this week: a couple of inches of rain fell on Sunday and we are expecting 2 more inches of rain tomorrow.  We’re under an area flood watch (thankfully not a problem at my house).

True warmth

I offer you tea
A listening ear, eyes, hands
True warmth from the heart

Yeah, it feels like that

I have joined the sandwich generation and will likely be absent from blogging much of this month.  Please don’t feel badly if I don’t get around to visit you!