Charlottesville, VA

Our last stop was 10 or so days near Charlottesville, Virginia (we were in Nellysford, specifically).  This is the city where I was born, and we were able to be there over my 18th birthday, which was quite fun.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

We arrived at the rental house (have I mentioned how much I love VRBO?!) at, oh, 9-ish on Wednesday, the same day we’d toured the Capital

*Important urgent update*  I can’t remember everything we did and in what order it was done.  We spent some days just chilling, so I will recap the highlights in the order I remember.

The first day (Thursday) we drove by the hospital building where I was born (the hospital has now moved), Dad’s old work building, and Mom and Dad’s old home.  We also stopped by the home of some of our previous neighbors, and my first baby sitter.  🙂  We also did the necessary grocery shopping.

Friday was my birthday.  I chose to spend it quietly at the rental, and not go anywhere.  Dad and the younger children went in to town to get the car looked at, because the brakes were squeaking.  (We were staying up on a mountain, which was a *little* rough on the car.)  I opted to stay home.  I believe I updated my “About” page.  I painted my toenails a cute red.  And I made some AWESOME grain-free chocolate chip cookies, a recipe that I had gotten from a good friend.  They were so good, the batter even was good (one of my tests to see if a recipe will turn out).  We made pizza for dinner, and I made this delicious grain-free pizza crust.  LOVE it!

It had been a rather warm day, and we had had the windows open most of the afternoon.  We also had the front door open, as there was a storm door.  When we were just about done with dessert, Mom looked up and said, “Noah, was that you?”

Noah was loading a dish in the kitchen.

“Did you make that noise?”

Noah was peeking around the corner toward the front door.  “No, it came from over there.”

Mom sent Drake over to look.  Drake took a quick look. “Dad?  You need to come over here.”

Dad quickly marched over to the door and slammed it.  As the front door was glass, we could still see outside.  Dad flicked on the outside light, and it revealed…

A BEAR!

A good-sized black bear had smelled the cooking and had come around to see what was going on.  He had opened the storm door (yes, you read that right) and was standing on the threshold, ready to come inside, but he hesitated and had turned around, which gave Dad time to shut the door.  He stood up on his hind legs and put his paws on the glass.  And pushed.

I must confess.  I was pretty scared.  Yes, my knees were knocking.  So before you peg me as being brave, imagine me standing around the corner, knees knocking, asking if *just maybe* we should call the police.

*cough*

We did call the police, but by the time the police came (they came quite quickly), the bear had left.  While we were waiting for them to arrive, Mom noticed that the lights in the van were on.  After asking everyone, it was ascertained that no one had left the door open.  When the police came, they told us that it was the bear.  The bear had opened two doors on our van, and had rifled through the whole thing. 

There was dirt and pollen all in the car.  On. Every. Chair.

There hadn’t been any food in there, but the bear had helped himself to a few Kleenex boxes, a water bottle, a cup, and the wipe container.  He had put a few rips in the back seat of the car.

Sadly, I GOT NO PICTURES of the bear.  But I did get photos of some of his damage.

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One of the Kleenex boxes

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Apparently he liked wipes

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He didn’t get the top off 🙂

The next day we went to Monticello, which was quite interesting.  It has beautiful views.  Given, there are beautiful views EVERYWHERE in Virginia.  But Monticello had beautiful views.

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Heading to Monticello – Blue Ridge Mountains

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Monticello

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The sundial

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A hallway that goes underneath Monticello.  Monticello is built on a mountain (Monticello means Little Mountain), and things are built on levels as you go down the mountain.  The roof of part of this hallway is the terrace that comes out of Monticello.  Off to the right are the old slaves’ quarters (not down the hallway, but off to the right in the picture).  It’s a rather interesting set-up.  Anyways, down this hall is the wine cellar.

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LOVE the blue sky!

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The gardens

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Some local grape juice that we purchased.  It taste like raisins.  Very…interesting.  I’d get the purple kind next time.  🙂

The next week Mom took us to Montpelier (Dad was working).  Montpelier was my favorite of the three president’s homes that we visited.  It was the least recreated, but it is just gorgeous.  And the view.  Oh the view.  (You’ll see it below).

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We stopped at a scenic overlook on the way to Montpelier.  I believe this is looking toward Charlottesville.

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More mountains

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Pansies at the Montpelier Welcome Center

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Montpelier

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The view from Montpelier’s front porch

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If you look very carefully at the horizon, you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains.  They are 20 miles away.  B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.

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Madison’s front door

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In the gardens

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Drake’s legs were sore, so he went to chill in the shade.  Meiling joined him.

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On the way home

Mom took Noah, Meiling, and I to Market Street in Charlottesville to walk around.  It is blocked off so no cars are there.  It is chock full of cute little shops.

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Market Street – The Mole Hole was a neat little shop

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Mom loves giraffes.  🙂

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When my parents lived in Charlottesville, they visited this restaurant often.  It was Sylvia’s Pizza then.  Now it’s Vita Nova.

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We stopped at this little gelato shop.  It. Was. AWESOME!!!!

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My ice cream.  I had a chocolate sorbet and a dulce de leche ice cream.  Oh my.  The dulce de leche ice cream was SO VERY VERY good.  I got one ice cream and one sorbet, so at least I was HALF good.  🙂

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On the way home we stopped at a creek that ran along the side of the road, and I played with shutter speed.

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On a walk with everyone

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You’ve got to LOVE the view

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King of the hill 🙂

 

This *officially* concludes all the posts about our trip.  I’m really glad that it’s done now, as I have some exciting things to post!  Well, I hope you enjoyed!

Love,
Allison

Spring Flowers

Spring is coming – actually, it’s starting to feel like it’s here.  Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and trees are leafing.

(Is that how you would say it?  Trees are leafing out?  I don’t know.  But, whatever. :))

Anyways, here are some flower photos that I have taken recently.

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Beading and a Thanksgiving Confession

So I have to tell you.

Don’t take this the wrong way.  I am not complaining.  I love Thanksgiving – the time with friends, family, and the food.

But there’s one thing I should tell you.

Are you ready?

I don’t like turkey.

I know.  You’re shocked.  How can anyone NOT like turkey?

This *actually* shouldn’t be that surprising, if you knew that I am not a big fan of roast chicken.  I like chicken, but not a whole, roasted chicken.  I know – slightly odd.

But I like the stuffing.

Oh, how I like stuffing.

I could stuff myself with stuffing.  And sometimes I do.

But I am hoping that I won’t do that this year.

Anyways.

Oh, random question:  Has anyone heard of a Turducken?  Have you ever tried one?  I’ve heard of them, but never had one.  They sound…interesting.

Well, now that we’ve covered that, it is time to get to the fun part.

Last week I pulled out my beading supplies when a friend was visiting.  I hadn’t taken my beads out since last year, when the same friend was over.

So we did some beading.  She made a bracelet.  And I started an anklet. 

I’ve wanted to make an anklet for awhile.  I can’t wear bracelets, because they aggravate my wrists.  So I thought anklets would be a good alternative.  And I have one anklet that I made when I was maybe 10.  But it no longer fits.

Wow.  That was a bit ramble-y.

So after some brainstorming, and grabbing a handful of jewelry that I had made, I decided to take apart an old necklace and remake it into an anklet.

So this is what I ended up with.

Nothing fancy.  Just a simple everyday anklet.  It is about the color of denim, so I can wear it with most of my skirts.

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These are rather uninteresting pictures

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But I’ll post the more interesting pictures later

Once I had finished this anklet, I saw some other beads that I had, and they inspired me.  So I then made this bracelet for Mom.

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I am really happy with how this turned out

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And now for the fun pictures.  =)

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Love the specular highlights

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Yes, I Can

When I was 10, 11, and 12,  I used to love to crochet.  And I played piano, usually for an hour a day.  I loved crocheting and piano.  Crocheting was more of a hobby, but piano was something I did a little more seriously.  I somewhat viewed it as something that I always wanted to do (although I couldn’t have articulated it then).  I loved piano.

I loved to sit down and just play.  Songs I had learned, books of songs from musicals.  Just play for hours.

My family joked that I was glued to the piano bench.

But when I was twelve, my wrists started hurting.

I can’t exactly remember when, but one day my right (I think) wrist started hurting.  Then the left started.

This lasted for about a month.  It was December, and I didn’t get to do the present wrapping.  (I usually wrap all the presents for my parents, except my own.  I think they have Drake wrap those.)  I was pretty inactive, doing lots of reading, and not being able to do a whole lot else.

But then it went away for awhile.  I had already quit crocheting, and although I did dabble in it a few times over the next few years, I never really started crocheting again.

I was able to continue playing piano until I was 14, when my piano teacher married and moved away.  Although I took a few more lessons here and there, I wasn’t able to seriously play seriously anymore.  It aggravated my wrists.

At first this was really hard.  Mostly because my wrists hurt if I did anything.  Sometimes they hurt so bad that I couldn’t even read a book – it hurt to hold the book and turn the pages.

We tried all kinds of different things – some seemed to help, others didn’t.  My wrists seemed to get gradually better.  I was able to type again.  I was able to cook and bake.  But they always hurt if I tried to play piano or crochet.

This bugged me some times worse than others.  Sometimes I would feel as if playing piano was a season – one that was now over.  It would hurt a little, but, hey, if that’s the way it was, that’s the way it was.

At other times it was so difficult.  Listening to classical piano made me sad, because it reminded me of what I couldn’t do.  Seeing other people play also reminded me of this.  All these things just seemed to start a recording in my mind that repeated:

“You can’t.  You can’t.  You used to, but you can’t.  You can’t.  You can’t.”

And I really didn’t have anything to say in defense.

Because I felt like I couldn’t.

I was still teaching piano off and on through these years.  There were times when I would enjoy it.  But then there were times when I would think, “What good is a piano teacher who can’t even play the piano?”

A few weeks ago I decided to play the piano a little bit every day.  I was able to prove to myself that I could still read music (a skill that I thought I was losing).

And it didn’t hurt – at least not at first.

I also tried crocheting again.  I made a dishcloth, and then I started to think about what else I could make.

I decided to crochet a bagful of cupcakes to give to a little friend who loves cupcakes.  So I started.

I finished the first cupcake on Monday evening.  I set it on top of my bookcase, where I can see it.

And you know what it says to me?

“You can.  You can.  You CAN.”

Although trying to play piano and crocheting has caused my wrists to hurt some (they are hurting right now), I am hoping to be able to work through it, so I can at least play piano again.

And it’s so nice to have something to prove to myself that I can.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me this.

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The cupcake on top of my bookcase

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All finished!

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A Few Fun Finds

We went to a thrift store this week, and while we were there, I found some things for myself.  I usually don’t find that much, but I was blessed to find a book and a curtain/window treatment/thing.  I really don’t know what it is called.  All I know is that it is cute, purple, matches my room, and is cute.  (Did I mention it was cute?)

So I found a curtain thing.  It was only $1.50, so I decided to take the chance of it not matching and brought it home.  Thankfully, it matched!  I took it and looped it above my window, with both of the ends hanging on one side.  You’ll see much better in the picture.  I will probably change it some, as I put it up at 10:30 last night, just to see how it looks.

The book I found is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I have heard about this book, but have never looked at it.  I found it for $1.50 in practically new condition.  I made one of the recipes for wheat bread yesterday, and I am planning to bake some on Monday.  I’ll tell you how it turns out.

Those were my finds for the week.  I just love getting great things at the thrift store.  It takes some patience, but can be quite rewarding.

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My window (Hi! Can you see me in the window?)

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And my book (Mmmmm)

And don’t forget, if you haven’t yet entered the giveaway, go here to enter!