Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More holiday fun....

While we were at the farm there was time to see a few friends.
We met Carol Jean and Leonard Burton at her sis's restaurant, Debbie's Kitchen, for breakfast on a Friday morning. It was great to see these two fine folks, whom we share lots of good fun with at the river

Carol Jean, Molly, Bob and Leonard

Carol Jean has several sisters and they are all very pretty "girls". Her sister, Betty, runs the restaurant , and while we were eating her other sister, Patsy, came in.

Patsy, Carol Jean, and Betty...three very pretty sisters!!

We were served an abundant and delicious breakfast....probably the best pancakes I've ever tasted! If you want a great meal at a very fair price, don't miss Debbie's Kitchen on Route 33 just off the I 295 interchange!

It was nice visiting and catching up on things with these good guys. They treated us to a wonderful breakfast and we sure enjoyed seeing them.

We also met my old friend (well, she's not OLD...), Susan and her guy, Carey, for dinner on Saturday night, but I failed to take my camera :( , so no photos. We've been friends for about 42 years and it's always good to see her and catch up on things. She lost her husband, John, to Lou Gehrigs disease about 3 years ago, so it was great to see her at a happier time and place in her life.

On Friday night, there was dinner with friends Everett and Linda at The Outback, so it was nice to spend time with our old traveling buddies. We sure miss both of them.

We picked up Kristy's older kids from school one afternoon and took them for pizza.
At Trey's elementary school, Battlefield Park, (the same school our own kids attended) the principals and staff were sending the kids and busses off in true Christmas spirit......
dressed up as Santa's and elves and snowmen!

The kids were doing well and we enjoyed seeing them for a little while.

It was nice to see and spend time with a few folks before we headed South!
Hugs to all!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays to all.....

Happy Holidays to everyone...hope you've all had a great Christmas and wish you a terrific New Year coming up!

It was a most pleasant Christmas for us, spent with my sister Wanda,in Roanoke, Va then with son, Paul, on the farm, and finally, with daughter, Tiffany in Catonsville, Maryland.

We drove to Roanoke on Tuesday and went to Luigi's divine Italian restaurant with Wanda and Stuart on Tuesday evening....Yum, Yum doesn't even come close to doing this place justice! My favorite there is Veal Saltim Bocca and it was just as fine as it always is!

Christmas Eve found us at the Poage's Mill Church where Wanda sang "What Child is This", so beautifully this year, just as last year. Funny, but last year Mom was with us and I remember thinking that she would probably be with with us for many more Christmases (the last few years I had found myself thinking "this will probably be Mom's last Christmas with us here on Earth"), but that was not the case; so our first Christmas without Mom has passed. We missed her. And, of course, losing Kristy left such an ache...too young, too soon, too sad. KK has had a tough time of it...the kids seem to be doing pretty well. It was so good to spend Christmas Eve with my sister and her husband, Stuart. :) Thanks, guys!!

We returned to the farm on Christmas Day to spend the evening with Paul and Katie and Paulette (Katie's Mom). It was a warm and lovely day so we spent some time outdoors. Bob and I prepared Rockfish stuffed with Crab Imperial and Katie and Paulette did yummy sides and desserts. It was a most enjoyable evening with the kids.

Friday Morning we left early to head to Catonsville for a weekend with Tiff. I had some tests to be done at Tappahannock-Riverside Hospital, so we arrived there around 9 AM, they completed them promptly and we were enroute to Catonsville by 10:15. We had planned for Friday night to be "Brazilian Night" so we had our black beans and garlic rice "Claudio style" that evening. On Saturday night, Tiff had made reservations at The Candlelight Inn" and wow! what a lovely evening and delicious meal. It was a thoroughly delightful time! This beautiful old home was built in the late 1800's and has been serving wonderful meals almost continuously since then. It was decorated in Christmas finery, with fresh greens and running cedar in abundance. Afterwards, we toured the many old streets in Catonsville to view the old homes decorated for the Christmas season. It really is a sweet town and it's always great to spend time with Tiff and Scott.

We are truly grateful for our kids and their spouses....we won the lottery for sure when it comes to these folks who make up our little family. Thanks, guys, for sharing your lives with us!

So, another Christmas has passed...full of loved ones, yet missing ones we loved. It was a blessed Christmas season.

We hope your holidays were joyous and blessed, and that 2009 will bring a healthy and happy new year for each of you! Big Hugs to everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Peeps... Dumplin, Alfredo, Stroganoff....

This one must be Stroganoff!

Finally, here are the peeps....which were, indeed, tiny peeps, when we arrived at the farm in October.

Alfredo, (above)...this one is for Dortha!! Notice the webbed feet!

And here is the entire group of 23 peeps. These are of the "easter" variety, as they will lay pastel colored eggs. The plan is to name them all after Chicken dishes.....if only we can tell them apart!

Looks like Dumplin' to me!

They have grown tremendously in the two months that we have been here. They will be in the hen house soon.....hope Katie has fresh eggs for us when we return next Fall!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Uncle Jimmy's Eightieth Birthday Party

Surprise, Surprise!!

Bob's Uncle Jimmy gets a big surprise!

On Tuesday, November 25th, we made a little road trip to Newport News in the evening for a SURPRISE Eightieth birthday party for Bob's Uncle Jimmy. He sure doesn't look or act like he's eighty, so I was pretty sure they'd made a mistake and it was really his seventieth birthday, but Lou and Hazel were insistent that he really is 80....so it must be true!

Bob and his Aunt Lou (Tia Lou)

Jimmy's wife, Hazel outdid herself with a lovely dinner and party...and Jimmy surely was surprised! With over 90 friends and family in attendance, there was much evidence of the love and caring he shares with everyone in his life. Many comrades from his working years at the Chesapeake Railroad were there, as well as lots of family, neighbors and friends, showing highest regard for this wonderful guy.

Bob, Tia Lou, Uncle Jimmy and Hazel

Uncle Jimmy's birthday cake, a Chessie Train (He retired from the Chesapeake Railroad)

Uncle Jimmy gets a birthday call from Mary K in Rio, Brazil....hmmmm.....or was that from his funny colored "niece", Alene in DC?????? Since they both called him, guess it could be either one!!!

Uncle Jimmy with his family!

What a great time, honoring a really great guy. Hope you had a great birthday, Jimmy! You are an inspiration to everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Catonsville with Eric and Kenneth

The first weekend in December was a little "Road Trip" to Scott and Tiff's home in Catonsville with Eric and Kenneth, Kristy's youngest and oldest boys.

Dixie, Eric and Scott

On Saturday the guys put up the garland and lights on the porch. It was very cold......

and started SNOWING in the afternoon......

and left a blanket of white all over!!

Eric cleaned the snow off the car for us!

Later on, we all went to the National Crytology Museum on Fort Meade. Tiffany had arranged a tour for us and we had a very informative guide, that really knew his stuff. He gave us a tutorial on encryption and reconnaisance beginning with the Civil War. We saw the famous Enigma, German encryption machine from WW2, and many other fascinating exhibits. We could have spent several hours there, but the time was short as they close early on Saturday, so we will be sure to return for a more leisurely visit there.

This is a very interesting exhibit, and it's a free attraction, if you're ever in the Fort Meade Maryland area, be sure and stop by for a tour.

In the evening, we bundled up and took Dixie for a twilight walk, in the new fallen snow. It was beautiful, as the neighborhood was decorated for the holidays, and the lights twinkled against the fresh, falling snow and our crystalizing breath. It was such fun to watch Eric run along with Dixie and revel in the white stuff....almost made you feel like a kid again yourself....and to find a little bit of the Christmas spirit which has been hiding itself in sadness for awhile. It was great to spend more time with my Tiff and Scott, and to be with Eric and Kenneth for the weekend.

Here's a photo of Kristen's Strings Concert at Lee-Davis...it was a lovely perfomance and we were all quite proud of her!

Great perfomance Kristen!!

Holiday hugs to everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holidays in Hanover County, Virginia

One of our favorite places in Montpelier is the General Store. Well, it really is the ONLY place, but it is still our favorite. They make the best old country ham biscuits, and cook thick, cured bacon for their bacon biscuits, so we get our breakfast there many days.

The proprietor, Sue, keeps the store stocked with important stuff like old fashioned candy bon-bons, filled hard candies, homemade jams and jellies and butter, Clark Bars and Mint Juleps, as well as muck boots, jeans and feed bins and cans. They stock lots of Lodge cast iron cooking pots too. The little store is about 4 miles from the farm, and then it's another 2o miles or so to Richmond, so it's a handy stop for us. It's decked out in Christmas greens now, so here's what the little store looks like........

Montpelier "Western Hanover" General Store in downtown Montpelier

Then there's the little Town of Ashland, about 17 miles North of Montpelier, still in Hanover County. There are many nice restaurants, shops and lovely homes in Ashland, as well as Randolph-Macon College. The Train Depot is an active one, located right in the center of town and in front of the college. We enjoy eating at the IronHorse, a restaurant right on the tracks at the town crossroads, and watching the many trains as they roll through the town.

The Ashland Train Depot, decked out for the holidays

This depot was the destination when I took the train From South Bend, Indiana to Ashland, when traveling back home to be with Kristy in October. My Brother-in-law, Allen, picked me up at the depot and said he's lived in Ashland all his life, but never picked up anyone arriving at the station. He and my sister, KK, live about 4 miles or so from the station. It's a quaint town and train station and much of life still revolves around the tracks. Many folks live in Ashland and commute daily, via the trains, to DC and the Northern Virginia area.

Decking the gates at the Farm, with fresh evergreens

Monday, the weather turned warm and lovely, so I took to the woods looking for cedar, holly and pine to make swags for the gateposts on the drive. The smell of evergreen and pine really is the smell of Christmas, so traipsing through the woods in search of the greens is a favorite thing to do, as long as it's not too freezing cold!!!

Sunday we met George and Charlotte for a little lunch and Christmas cheer at the Texas Roadhouse in Richmond. It is always good to spend time with them and to catch up on things in Warsaw (that only takes about a minute, but we always have lots to talk about!) Hopefully, they'll be down to visit in Florida this winter. They are good buddies and we enjoy traveling and just spending time with these wonderful friends.

Great friends, George and Charlotte, share a little Christmas cheer

It's been a good week at the farm, seeing some old friends and spending lots of evenings sharing dinner with Paul and Katie....we're really going to miss them when we leave here.

Hugs to everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thanksgiving at Natural Bridge

The next few blog entries will be of the "catch up" variety.....events that we want to record and remember in our diary of travels and daily life. Hope it's not too boring for those that follow along.

Thanksgiving day we drove west to Natural Bridge for dinner at the Colonial House. This was my first year not cooking for a large crowd, so it was quite different, but it was a pleasant, delicious, and thankful meal. It had been a busy month, spending most days at the hospital with Kristy, so the plan was to meet my sister and brother-in-law, Wanda and Stuart for lunch, then we would drive back to MCV hospital to visit Kristy late in the afternoon.

Wanda and Molly

Wanda and Stuart

It was a sunny and bright day, fairly warm for late November, so the two hour drive passed quickly, as did our time together. We were all stuffed with fresh Shenandoah turkey and gravy, Smithfield Ham, shrimp, and all the fixin's of a great Southern meal...and we didn't have to cook or clean up! :) :) What a novel idea!

We had many things to be grateful for, chief amongst them our family and friends, and being able to share time together. We are, indeed, very blessed.

We drove back to Richmond, going straight to MCV to visit with Kristy. KK was there, so we stayed a while and then we drove KK home for the evening.

You know the rest of the story.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas Open House

On Saturday, December 13th, our wonderful neighbors from Warsaw, hosted a Christmas Open House at their new home in Powhatan.

Junie had my "E T" made in a flash and we were enjoying the holiday spirit, just like we used to on the deck in Warsaw!
Always good sports and lots of fun, Junie and Sue "ham" it up a little!

Molly, Sue and Junie in the kitchen

Their new home is lovely, and, of course, it was decorated beautifully for the holidays. They were the best neighbors, and it was just great to spend some time with them and see many of the folks we always enjoyed so much.

Rosa's "best side" captured in photo!! :)
The Open House made for a wonderful way to get into the Christmas Spirit a little more....and it's always a joy to see the fine folks that we think so much of!
Happy Holidays and hugs to all!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Catching up...

Today was "catch up" day for me....many things that had been left aside got a little attention today....like cleaning windows and cabinets, shower doors etc. Starting early this morning, I worked on cleaning the shower including using Rain-X on the doors and polishing the brass. Then cleaned and vacuumed everything from top to bottom. Having lots of vanilla leather in the motorhome means lots of leather cleaning, so our buddies, Smokey and Pam Ridgley have the BEST leather cleaner we've ever encountered. I used lots of the Dri-Wash leather cleaner to clean and polish the leather today. It is an incredible cleaner that leaves the leather bright, clean and shiny. I'm about to run out, so that must mean we need to run into Smokey and Pam soon! It always feels so good to have the MH squeaky clean!

Bob was busy all day installing his new tow set up for the Envoy. He decided to tow the Envoy instead of my old favorite Saturn Station Wagon, so he got the new Roadmaster tow bar installed and worked on a new braking system for it. This one is "Air Force One", air assisted braking. We used the M&G on the Saturn, but Bob thought this one might be best on the Envoy. We'll let you know how it works out. Next he'll move all the Pressure-Pro sensors from the Saturn to the Envoy and get those programmed and set up for travel. I am torn about keeping my station wagon or selling it before we leave. I enjoy that little "grocery getter" so much and it is a great economical car, but also hate to think about it just sitting and not being driven over the next year. Guess we'll have to decide soon about that.

I had a nice weekend with Kenneth and Eric in Catonsville at Tiff and Scott's. It was very cold and we even had a nice snowfall...just enough to be pretty on Saturday night. I'll post some photos in a day or two.

I suppose I'm getting my groove back; blogging, cleaning, walking, cooking dinner for Paul and Katie and making plans for Christmas and hitting the road very soon. There are many things to be done before we leave here so we're both staying busy.
It will be good to be back on the road again....heading South to warmer weather!
Hugs to everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Life goes on...

Life goes on here, but I surely miss Kristy. It has been quite a change to get up in the morning and not rush off to the hospital. I know she is getting a good laugh out of watching me get my groove back.

There was a lovely visitation and funeral service for Kristy on Sunday and Monday. Her Mom, KK, and her Dad, Ray and his wife, Chris, did a beautiful job on her services. Kristy would have loved it. It did not take away the grief, but it was catharthic for the family. The children are doing pretty well. Today is Kristen's thirteenth birthday. She's been wanting to see the movie "Twilight" so Monday night, Kristen and I went to the movies for her birthday. Tuesday night she had a strings concert at Lee-Davis High School, so we all went to hear her play her violin in the Christmas concert. She is quite an accomplished player and we were proud of her.

Tomorrow I will pick up Eric and Kenneth and take them up to Tiff and Scott's for their weekend in Maryland. Scott will take Kenneth to the shooting range and Tiff and I will do some fun things with Eric. We're all going to the Cryptologic Museum on Fort Meade Saturday afternoon, as Tiff has arranged a guided tour for us. It should be a fun weekend with the kids.

Bob and Paul are still working on "Farm Projects".....there is no end to them! But they are having a great time doing all these "manly" things. We will stay here on the farm until Christmas, then head south to our place in Florida Grande. When we leave here, we most likely will not be back until late next year, so we want to spend as much time with the kids as possible. We hope to be in Alaska all of next Summer, then return to Virginia in late Autumn.

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving... hugs to everyone