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That is not Dor in the pink socks!

That is not Dor in the pink socks!

Speaking of marathons, my friend Amy is amazing.  She is little but mighty, plays and teaches the violin, has a truck driver’s license, goes to a jumpology trampoline center for fun, is a teacher’s aid, and runs in marathons.  I like to tell people my BigFoot was the result of running in too many marathons (or a skiing accident), but you must know that is a big lie. I have never run in a marathon.  In fact, I don’t think I have run or even fast-walked anywhere since 1995.  

But today my friend Amy is a contestent (with two of her equally mighty sons) in a unique race in Roanoke, Virginia.

Picture running uphill through office buildings,

parking garages and train yards

in a race called, WASUPWIDIS!

Translated that means What’s Up with This, but by the time you run up the first set of stairs you can hardly breathe so the name has been gasped into a shorter version –  “wasUpwidis.”  The event is offered by Roanoke City Parks and Recreation and Mountain Junkies LLC (home of the trail running and mountain biking junkies of the Roanoke Valley) and is noted by both organizations as “one of the most unique races you’ll ever have the chance to run.”

According to reports, nearly 370 people participated last year with even more expected this year. The object is “to run through, up and over a few of Downtown Roanoke’s landmarks, traversing surprisingly difficult elevations in two of the city’s parking garages and finishing with a breathtaking climb and descent in the Wells Fargo Tower.  You may be able to run and you may be able to climb, but can you do both?”

Good luck Amy!

Above details and information about the WasUpWiDis race in Roanoke, Virginia are from  http://mountainjunkies.net/site/wazupwidis/ .

Mountain Junkies L.L.C.  “home of the trail running and mountain biking junkies of the Roanoke Valley.”

And here’s a video too:

 

 

 

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Winter's Fingerprint January 2016

Looks like we got about 18 inches of snow in my part of Virginia during the first big snow storm in 2016!

I am grateful that we did not lose power.

I tried to help clear the deck but my toes got wet and cold in the big boot for the Big Foot. The boot is more of a summer variety with open toes vulnerable to snowflakes (even when protected by a sock).

I did finally clear a path to the bird feeder though since the little sweethearts were in a frenzy for food.

20160123_091058

Special appreciation to our friend, neighbor, and President of our neighborhood, Pete Holladay, who never fails to clear these back-country lanes during almost any snowstorm.  He came out twice this time to assure we can all get out if there is an emergency.   Thank you Pete!

And finally, “Ain’t snow grand?”

Being Florida born and bred, I still love the feeling of living in a magical white world!

 

 

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MotorCartI learned to drive a go-cart at a big Virginia grocery store this week!

What a joy to get off that bad foot!  What freedom in zipping around the canned goods and toilet paper aisles!

Retail Therapy took on a whole new meaning

from the seat of what seemed like a toy golf cart.

Fortunately no one was hurt, but people simply do not realize the danger from Un-mechanical Dor on a go-cart.

  • First, it is a bit difficult to steer and much too quick to stop, and to set it at a comfortable speed is an ongoing challenge.
  • Have you ever seen a new driver learning the stick shift?  Of course not.  You are too young and only know automatic transmissions.  But lurching is the trademark of most new drivers and I regret to say I am a true lurcher.
  • The great fun though (even with all the lurching), is in acquiring a whole new perspective of the human race from the nether regions of a grocery aisle!

 There it is – the ultimate learning experience –

a bottoms-up viewpoint of human nature!

  • First I noticed some folks are actually embarrassed and uncomfortable looking down upon a poor motorized invalid.  You can tell by the careful averting of eyes.
  • I kept wanting to say, “Hey, it’s me.  I’m just like you when I stand up. This is only temporary.  Really!”
  • And then I began to feel sorry for those who really are disabled.  I will certainly pay more attention to being kind to go-cart motorists now.  It is demeaning and lonely to be looked at as if you are invisible.
  • Some folks look right at you but register annoyance.  They will not budge from established positions, probably thinking, “You want in here?  You will have to wait. So you are too lazy to walk huh?”  These are Scrooge descendents!  They should all take a ride in a grocery store go-cart to be converted into nice people (like me).
  • Others looked down, focused eye to eye, smiled sympathetically, and graciously gave way.  Some even offered to help with the reaching. I secretly believe they are the true Earth Angels and I plan to become just like them when I’m on my feet again!

In the end, I am an untrained motor scooter-er and did not realize there is a final parking procedure.  Never receiving instructions I pulled straight in and limped out of the store.

But before that I watched a 98 year old fella (well, he looked 98 – he was driving a go-cart wasn’t he?)  backing his cart in with great skill.  Then he gave me the frowning evil eye.  I was feeling so innocent and unjustifiably maligned but the truth was:

I should have backed my cart up to a wall too.  Ha!  Lurching forward was hard enough.

And then I should have plugged the thing in for recharging.  Ha!  Not easy for the electronically handicapped you know.

Obviously, I haven’t made Earth Angel grade yet.

Keep watching though!

I am learning the hard way…from the bottom up.

 

 

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Hurrah!  This is not about Germany, and of course we are back in Virginia.

In spite of falling asleep at odd times for close to a week, I am semi alert and almost fully functioning.

Next:  A Family Visit

And having emerged from tracking in the footsteps of the ancients, I am  now enjoying the excitement of a visit from our son and three grandgirls.

They are volatile, young, fun, and sort of tornadic.

Black BearA Bear Stops By for a Look

To add to the excitement, a bear came for a visit too and my middle grandgirl, Kendall, fearlessly dashed out on the deck to get a picture!  The bear admired her beauty for a minute and then headed for the woods.

Celebrating Birthdays

Two of the three girls share close together birthdays, so we are celebrating those too.  Their birthday dinner request is always for Hungarian Paprikash, a kind of stewed chicken with “knuckles.”

When my brother and I were little we could not pronounce the word  Nokedli (little dumplings) so we called them Knuckles, and that stuck (the word, not the dumplings). And I still cannot pronounce Nokedli.

On a sad note:

Our old friend, Buddy died while we were in Germany and today was his Celebration of Life.  Buddy did not want us to mourn but to remember him with happiness.  We loved him so and had so many years of grand laughter and shared kindness.  The memories are many and we are grateful for that friendship and to continue it now with his daughter, Pam and the rest of his family.

Bill and Buddy

Bill and Buddy

To the Drive-in Movie

This evening our son and grandgirls are headed for Hull’s Drive-In Movie Theatre.  Remember those?

Tonight’s weather prediction is for FROST!   I will stay home in a warm place for dozing and predict they will not make it through the first feature.

Virginia Safari Park

Virginia Safari Park

 

Safari Park

Tomorrow is dedicated to pumpkin carving and a traditional visit to Safari Park, where we have been going since the girls were little.  No visit is complete without high pitched screaming in the car when an emu or other big critter sticks its head through the window for a little more snacking!

The Shock and Awe of Silence

When everybody leaves our home and life returns to a normal routine, I may be accosted by the shock and awe of silence.  But for now, it feels like an extension of our vacation and a time to contemplate the joyful ties of family and friends.

 

 

 

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Brochure Arts CntrThere are things happening in the small town of Clifton Forge, Virginia.  I didn’t realize how many things.

My friend and I stopped there because it’s only 45 minutes from “home” and we heard the little town was morphing into something special.

We stopped right in the center of town to begin our visit at the Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center.  Taking in the regular storefront facade.  I was thinking, “Ah well.  Just another ho-hum artsy craftsy place. But let’s take a look.”

What surprises were inside!

Quilt at Art Cntr

Handmade Honeysuckle Basket Centerpiece

Handmade Honeysuckle Centerpiece Really Made of Honeysuckle!

Art Cntr Display

Look! Look! Look!

After talking to the friendly volunteers in the Arts Center and marvelling at all the locally made treasures, we realized there was not enough time.  Clifton Forge is becoming a true art center.

First there is exciting rennovation going on at the Masonic Theatre (just down the street from the artsy craftsy place).  Work is in progress to create the most modern facility for theater, music, and community events.  There was mention of a sophisticated Art School too which is already populated with students from around the world..

And we noticed enticing shops – like a grand looking antique store and a hardware store that is supposed to be fabulous.  Now I know “fabulous” is a strange word for a hardware store but we were told not to miss it.  This particular place is so unique it even has a section devoted exclusively to WOMEN!

And of course, Clifton Forge was once a booming railroad town for over 100 years until the 1960’s.   I have to return there to visit the Railroad Museum where visitors can go through a 1940’s vintage train!

There are several restaurants, including Michel’s of authentic French cuisine, and the Club Car (where we had lunch) featuring the freshest of fresh everything.  I have to go back just to try the restaurants!

The sad thing is we simply did not have enough time to cover the charming town of Clifton Forge.

And as I put together this blog post, I realize there is not enough time to tell you all about it either because if we had just two more hours we would still be in the Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center browsing buying.PinWheel Quilt Art Cntr

Horse Eye View

 

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Uh Oh – it’s Friday!

sneeboer-long-handled-fork-and-mattock

SUPER WOMAN COLLAPSES

I started working with a mattock on a long narrow ex-flower bed now destined to be grass only.

A MATTOCK IS A VERY HEAVY TOOL.  I think huge men use that tool to build railroad tracks.

Anyway, the soil I was attacking was compacted into immovable iron.

And my goal was to fluff up the iron into rich loamy (is loamy a word?) stuff to welcome grass seed.

But after an hour of hefting, heaving, sweating, and finally broadcasting seeds and tamping them down, I staggered into the house and collapsed.

Bill stopped by my inelegantly posed body (complete with ice packs in pertinent places) and said, “Are you o.k.?”

Moan:  “Yes, but      having      chest       pains……….”

“Oh,” he said.  “I’m going to get a haircut.”

RAIN, RAIN –  PLEASE!

SittingLying still with ice packs helped and I started thinking about the poor grass seed dehydrating in all those parched clumps of soil.

Those seeds needed water and fortunately THE FORECAST WAS FOR RAIN.  There was already high humidity, overcast skies and even thunder in the distance.

“I will just sit here a little longer and let the rain do the work.”

And I promptly fell asleep.

No rain.

This is Day 4.   Tomorrow I will resort to the hose!  It is sure to rain after that.

MORE WORK?

I am the secretary of our landowner’s corporation.

All of a sudden there was a lot of busy work to be done re the sale of one of the properties.

Work?!   Me?  Wasn’t working with a mattock enough?

I would rather play on my blog!

 

Startled Young BuckA DEAR ENCOUNTER

On my way out, there was a deer.  I stopped.  He stopped.  We looked. Why is he staying glued to the spot?   I reached for the camera.

Turn on camera.

Wait until things don’t look too fuzzy.

Aim.

No.  Too far away.

Aim again.

O.k. – Shoot Click!

We were frozen.  He still stood perfectly still looking right into my eyes.

How long could this last?

“I’m sorry but I have an appointment,” I explained and slowly moved forward.  And finally the young buck returned to the forest.

Such are the wonders of living in Brigadoon.

GAP TOOTHED WOMAN

I had a tooth enlarged to fill in a gap that harbored leftover morsels of just about anything lodged there.

ENLARGED?

Well, maybe that is not the exact dental terminology.  But what else would you call the insertion of putty or enamel or whatever between two teeth to fill in a gaping void?  It doesn’t show by the way so I am still a ravishing beauty.

The process took an hour, required numbing, cost $200 and left the same gap eagerly awaiting future lodged in morsels.

I have a darling of a dentist though who says to come back.  He wants to try again.

LAUGH UNTIL YOU CRY OR OTHER THINGS

Pete Laughing

Pete Begins the Laughing Fest

And tonight I laughed so hard I cried (and other things).  It was dinner out with friends and one of those times when everything is hilarious.

We were all beyond having a stable quiet evening but were into leaning over, close to falling over, screaming with laughter.

Bill tried to pry open the coke bottle salt shaker and missed seeing all the little pouring holes on top.  That sent us into fits of giggles and guffaws.

Pete ordered brown beans and he got about eight beans in a soupy mixture.  Talk about laughing tears!  I could hardly breathe.

The sign on the door left off pants in the dress code (see previous post “Pants Not Necessary.”)

And what better way to end a week than in laughing to the point of total collapse?

 

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CostcoMoncton

Most days I amble around town unrecognized until someone cries, “Hi! How are you?”  That calls for delay and catching up and is part of the whole great thing about living in rural Virginia.

It is rare however, to be heartily greeted by complete strangers.

In the last few days, undoubtedly due to my astounding beauty I have garnered the attention of MEN.  Or maybe this is happening because I look motherly old helpless tired  safe?

It all happened first at Costco in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It was our twice a year visit to a big store in a bigger city, and talk about exotic places!

Bill was perusing the bakery section.

I was studying  ingredients and drooling over some mini organic oat cake muffins

called Vegan Aussie Bites!

Maybe the drooling was the attraction?

As I resisted the idea of buying anything sweet (talk about noble!), a very tan hippie-ish looking fellow walked alongside me and expounded upon how much he loved those little cakes and how, “I can’t keep my hands off them.”  Still feeling astoundingly beautiful, do you suppose he meant “me” and not “them?”

“Good for you,” I said, clutching my purse which was safely cross-body slung anyway.

As I furtively looked around for Bill to come to the rescue, I noticed my devoted spouse was aware of the exchange, but he was even more immersed in studying some big luscious bear claws than in rushing into any rescue efforts.  Such are the perils of a long marriage.

As it turned out, the strange fellow was just friendly and as he kept nattering away on the merits of the mini cakes,  I determined he was harmless.

I also determined men are more interested in pastries than in elderly women.

However, he did see me drooling over those oat cakes too, so I could not blame him for experiencing unrequited love.

MAKING FRIENDS AT CHECK OUT TIME

Even though Bill and I managed to bring home a carload of “essentials” from Costco that equated to spending a carload of money, I still had to go out for groceries again the very next day.

Bill keeps telling me our food bill does not go down even with all the Costco savings.  Maybe that’s true, because there I was in a regular grocery store again stocking up on all the things we forgot the day before.

And in the check out line ANOTHER STRANGE MAN STRUCK UP A CONVERSATION!

No, it wasn’t the same man.

And I don’t think I was drooling.

 I was simply unloading stuff from the shopping cart onto the moving conveyor belt.

The new fellow began by saying, “I never check the length of check-out lines.  I check out the checker and I always choose this particular lady who knows how to get the job done.”

I smiled and said, “Good for you.”   You may have noticed, I am not too vocal when meeting strange men in markets.

The stranger  went on to say, “I am 68 years old and going for a Bachelor’s degree online and I put up (preserved) 61 jars of garden fresh green beans, and  I am providing  home care and support  for my daughter and grandchildren.”  And while he never stopped talking he reached over and helped unload my groceries!

“Good for you,” I said again,

and of course, “Thank you.”

I don’t know if my reticence scared the two guys away but after engaging in conversation (theirs, not mine), they both quickly disappeared.  Where were they when I needed help loading the car?

Well, now they are fond memories (preserved) in my WordPress blog post of

Exciting Things that Happen to Elderly Beautiful Women in Grocery Stores

(a similar process to preserving green beans).

Please do not pity me for a boring life.

When you live in rural Virginia on the edge of a forest, with only Bill and the deer for diversion, being greeted by two old fascinating men in two days is as exciting as going on Safari!

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Jobie - Man of Many Numbers

They say it is simply charming to live “where everybody knows your name.”

My nearby little town of Lexington, Virginia is like that, with one big difference.  There is a place in town where names don’t count – only numbers – membership numbers.  It’s the Rockbridge Farmers’ Co-op!

Farmers Coop SignWe have been gassing up the car at our local Farmer’s Cooperative for years and I actually forgot how to do-it- myself since the Co-Op insists on full service.  Now (being  spoiled  and pampered) I simply pull up to a pump and well –  wait.  Who could ask for anything more?

And along comes JOBIE, efficiently taking care of things while I wait and daydream, and when all is done, he hands me the receipt.  The bill then comes to Bill but to me, the gasoline is always free!

How is that remarkable?

 JOBIE KNOWS MY NUMBER.

IT’S A FIVE DIGIT MEMBERSHIP NUMBER.

AND JOBIE KNOWS IT BY HEART

                                           (ALONG WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHER NUMBERS)!

                                           and 

                                       JOBIE NEVER FORGETS!

 Is there something about my face?  Is that how he does it?

Does he recognize the peculiar dents and scratches on my car? 

Is it the license plate?  Naw.  That’s another set of numbers.

I  asked him how he recalls membership numbers out of the thousands of cars and people who come through.  And he simply shrugs and says, “Don’t know…. Just do.”

I am amazed!  I have been amazed for all these years and always hatching diabolical plans to mess him up.

Like when Bill and I go away on vacation I figure Jobie will forget the number.  “Out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t work though.  We can be away for weeks, maybe years.  He never forgets.

Lately I have been challenging him by saying, “I’ll bet someone else is getting my gas bill!”  And he just smiles.  But the truth is he never makes a mistake!

There is real hidden talent in this country and I have told Jobie he should look around for a television show to feature his rare gift.  He allowed me to take his picture but I don’t know what  t.v. show to send it to.  Perhaps you, in cyberspace, will recognize pure genius and suggest a way to put this talent to good use.

I am proud to introduce you to an impressive young fellow –  Jobie – a Virginia Numbers Man.

 

 

 

 

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Misty Morning Mountain View

Bill and I have been city transfers to Virginia country life for 26 years now.

The house feels brand new and happily, our visitors keep saying, “You have a nice place here.”

Oh, it needs a few tweaks like interior paint, but it is intimidating to think about moving big furniture around , so we invested in Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers.

The ugly old wood stove still works to save our lives in winter when the power goes out.  You  can’t disguise an ugly stove so she has a place of honor in the living room.   After 26 years she looks a bit tired with rust stains and slightly dull brass edging, but  I consider them wrinkles and frown lines and signs of character (like mine) and we will grow old together.

Our Wood Stove

In the garden, where we dug and weeded, and planted, and weeded ad infinitum (reaching for the ultimate landscape and nature’s edible harvests), we are now content to watch bears, squirrels, and birds massacre the fruitful peach trees.  And the once raised-bed vegetable garden became a giant salad bowl for deer.   Ah well, there are two farmer’s markets in our little town.

hypertufa-pool-1

I used to make Hypertufa pots with my friends (they look like natural rock).  I still use them to enhance the garden, but if you ask me to make more I’ll undoubtedly be yawning and yearning for a nap! There are wonderful  memories of “Hypertufa parties” and how we worked so hard mixing cement with feathers. What fun we had –  like children playing in the mud.

Living out here in “no man’s land” is still exciting though. I can always look out the window to see a sweet doe and her spotted fawn happily munching flowers I thought they wouldn’t like.  And I always hold my breath in awe no matter how often I see them.

Or I can see so many wild turkeys strutting along that I call them a “herd” instead of a flock. Technically a group of wild turkeys is  a flock, whereas a group of domesticated turkeys is known as a rafter or gang.

Or how about that Mama Bear and her twin cubs who recently marched right past our living room window and dared anyone to get in the way?

Life does move on (albeit a bit slower) even in Rural Virginia.  And like anywhere else, the people are always who matter most.  Happily we are still surrounded by living characters who color our lives. But, we lost close friends over time and are frequently reminded of how important they were then and now as they inhabit memories and dreams.

  • Meche taught me all about laughter and fun, and even though I never caught on, the value of bargain shopping.
  • From Viola I learned about land and water cress  and never to allow a dog to kill  chickens or sheep “else he will be shot by the farmer or you will have to shoot him yourself.”   She was a gruff, impatient, kindly friend and I will never forget her shouting, “ARE WE GOING TO PLAY OR NOT?” when we talked too much before or during a ladies’ poker game.
  • Les was a man’s man and a lady’s idea of John Wayne – a big man, always ready to help in a big way.
  • Courageous, fun loving Mary Beth insisted on always trying new things.  We met as docents at the Stonewall Jackson House.  “MB” would never stop at a chain restaurant when we traveled together and everywhere we went was an exciting adventure.
  • Frank and Alice contributed Forsythia bushes when we were new, and told us about Puff Ball mushrooms that were safe to eat.
  • Brownie kept us supplied with homemade pickles that we didn’t like, but we did love Brownie.

 But as we go about the business of life, making new friends and forging new memories,  enjoying the old house in slightly different ways, Bill and I are still genuinely thrilled when visitors say,“You have a nice place here.”

And they don’t seem to mind the sign in the guest room that reads:

“Check out time: Noon! Gratuities Accepted!”

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Crochet-Hooks-6

Boring Croche?

I went to the second crochet class.  Part of the fun is in Talking While you Knit (crochet).  These are ladies who collectively appear to be creatively demure and concentrated upon making a beginner’s “market bag.”

However they may not be exactly what they seem.   We were discussing what goes on at knitting retreats (do you really want to know this?), but we finally got to talking about nicknames like “Beetle.”  Innocent topic right?

I am blessed with various nicknames, depending upon what folks are around.  There’s Dorf, Dorfy,Dot, Dottie, Dor, Dora, Doranne, Dork, and Snort.  I told the crochet ladies, “Some very dear friends always call me Dork.

(By the way, Thank you so much for that fun nickname Debbie, Scott, Pam and Janet!)

There was a kind of silence around the crochet table.

I suppose “Dork” is a somewhat derisive nickname but my friends always say it tenderly so I never object.  This has been going on through 40 years of friendship and I always thought Dork meant Endearing.

However,  one beautiful young lady in my sweet, demure crochet group said, “It means a whale’s penis!”

Huh?

I insisted, “No, it means a kind of funny, silly but very sweet and wonderful person”.

In the group’s relentless search for the truth, wouldn’t you know they looked it up?

Well, to my dismay, it does mean a kind of disjointed foolish person, but a dork is also

A WHALE’S THINGY!

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Humpback Whale Photo from
en.wikipedia.org

That’s it!  Debbie (the original perpetrator), Scott, Pam and Janet will now be given firm instructions to invent a better nickname!  I will no longer respond to that one.

Imagine?

The things you learn in crochet class!

The blue whale’s penis, or dork, is the largest that ever existed. 

(Do you really need to know this?)

The average size for an adult male is 5m (15 feet)! 

The testicles weight 10kg (22 pounds). 

The blue whale can produce between 3-20 gallons of sperm during its mating season.  

From http://www.urbandictionary.com 

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