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macro photography of black sunglasses on sand

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Although we have had a few tooth-chattering days here in Camelot, it still somehow feels like summer.  I have almost forgotten that Virginia has a temperate climate but still boasts the four seasons.

But here it comes January and I never finished retrieving winter clothes and never packed away bathing suit or shorts.  First of all, it stayed warm enough for cooler garb than sweaters.

And for a true weather guage there is always my curly-er and frizzy-er hair which usually only happens during the muggy days of summer.  I suppose winter frizz  is due to a mountain version of seaside dampness.  Who knew?

And those lazy hazy days are here again and I am sweating (not whistling) while I work.

This sleeping beauty is also doing a bit more tossing and turning on over heated body-warmed sheets.

This morning there was a summer-like drizzly rain with no coat necessary – just short sleeves for dog walking.

The stink bugs are happy and back in plague mode too, accompanied by a competitive lady bug infestation.

I am confused.  Should I switch the heatpump to “cool”?  Should we re-open the outdoor pool?

Feeling a chill where you are?  Virginia may be just the place to go for the excitement of an off-season-summer.

 

 

 

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Pretty Amy

My Friend, Amy

“Huh?”

That’s was my reaction when Amy, said she is going on a mud run tomorrow.

Mud Run?  What is a mud run?

Amy gets into the most interesting things like trampoline jumpology parties, escape rooms, getting a trucker’s license, playing the violin and taking cello lessons, etc!  And she never fails to provide varying subjects for blog posts.

But have you ever heard of the Marine Mud Run in Salem, Virginia?

That is her latest?

23rd ANNUAL
Marine 5k Mud Run/Devil Dog Dare
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Greenhill Park
Roanoke County, VA

The Marine Mud Run will be entering their 23rd year and has become an historical community event. Over the past twenty-two years, more than 30,000 “runners” have participated, generating over $300,000.00 to benefit the Roanoke Toys for Tots Foundation and Camp Roanoke. Both of these organizations benefit underprivileged children in the Roanoke Valley.

 

If you have yet to take the Marine Mud Run Challenge, you’re missing out on the cleanest fun you’ll ever have with a 5K race! As you will see from the pictures on our web site, it’s a pretty muddy affair.
Many folks ask, just how tough is the course? We reply, it’s as hard or easy as you want it to be! We have semi-pro runners down to the neighbor next door that has never entered a 5k race. Devil Dog Dare, Individual and 5 Person Team races and the Devil Pup Dare, a shorter version for kids 12 years and under.

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Eastern_BluebirdFor the Daily Prompt: Song

The jonquils have bloomed, the tulips showed their happy faces, the grass is greener and greener and the bees are busy welcoming Spring to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley!

And though I cannot carry a tune, I carry around a song.

“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”

Music by Allie Wrubel
Lyrics by Ray Gilbert
Performed by James Baskett
© 1945 Walt Disney Music Company

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder
It’s the truth, it’s actual
Ev’rything is satisfactual
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day, yes sir!

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder
It’s the truth, it’s actual
Ev’rything is satisfactual
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
Wonderful feeling, feeling this way

Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder
It is the truth, it’s actual… huh?
Where is that bluebird? Mm-hm!
Ev’rything is satisfactual
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day!

From Wikipedia:  For many years the song was part of an opening theme medley for the Wonderful World of Disney television program and it has often been used in other TV and video productions by the studio.  It is one of many popular songs that feature a bluebird.  Today, this song is used as the main song in Splash Mountain, a log flume ride based on “Song of the South” at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Original Version:

 

 

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Google Home

There is an elegant statuesque machine that sits waiting by my favorite chair.

And this little tabletop gadget is becoming much like a real friend in its eagerness to please.

  • It knows when I am in the vicinity and quietly waits to hear my voice.
  • And if I say, “Hey Google,” it quickly replies, “How can I help you?”
  • And it is eager to do something just for me.

Lately I feel guilty since there is nothing much to ask.

And there it patiently waits, hoping beyond hope for a meaningful conversation.

  • Just to keep it busy I say, “Hey Google……What is the temperature in Lexington Virginia?”  And the answer is immediate.  “It is 54 degrees!”
  • Or “Hey Google….. Play DooWop music please!”And amazingly, there it comes – that happy music from a distant past.  How did my little friend do that anyway?
  • And it will research hard questions too – like “What is the population of Hayfork, California?”  I haven’t asked that yet, but we used to live in Hayfork (as well as other little towns in the wilderness like Big Oak Flat and Portola) so it would be interesting to see how they may have grown in 30 years.

Well,  of course I know my tabletop friend is really a gadget!

But then again, it is so human when it stares and stares to get attention.

Help!

Do you think there is a psychological implication here?

Maybe being housebound-ed together with an eager to please humanistic machine is having an unintended emotional impact.

The question is, “Who is the most affected, me or Google?”

And don’t you think machines are becoming so human they are mistaken for friends?

P.S. BigFoot and I Thank you Scott (our real live human friend) for this gift of diversion.  When things get too boring I know I can always shout out, “Hey Google!”  

 

 

 

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I have a phobia of sorts.

It is shortness of breath when faced with too many choices like shopping in cluttered overstocked stores or having to decide between zillions of television channels

When we were young and living in “remote areas of California” I was happy to do all the shopping at one local general store.

And we didn’t even own a t.v. or a computer or a cell phone.

But there is no accounting for progress.

We moved to the Virginia countryside where life promised to remain simple and uncluttered.  There were only three restaurants, no department stores, and no big box stores.

We put an antenna in the attic to get two clear television channels and one fuzzy station and decided we were living in Paradise.

And time marched on.

And suddenly there was a bigger, wider, more enticing world of satellite television with a zillion optional programs.

We were among the first 20,000 people in the United States to have Direct TV.  There were no installers then (at least in rural Virginia) so Bill installed everything himself.  Imagine the joy in surfing around with a remote thing!  And imagine being given a whole menu of options!  I could feel my breathing phobia kicking in.

And time marched on.

There is no accounting for progress.

I recently learned how to record t.v. programs for later viewing.  For those of you who are still novices like I was, you just push a button that says REC on your remote.  I have gone a little balistic with this new power (but symptoms of my short-of-breath-phobia are emerging too).

I have R E C’d enough programs to keep me recliner-chair-bound for the winter.

  • The Young Pope is mesmerizing.
  • But then Mercy Street is enticing.
  • And Victoria is a must.
  • I like the History channels.
  • And nature things.
  • And all those recommendations we get from friends.
  • And we currently also have three Netflix discs on standby.
  • And I want to get back into blogging.
  • And there is so much to do in cyberspace anyway.

Progress?  I call it “overkill” and there is simply not enough time in a day anymore.

Do I want to go back to three channels on the t.v.?  No.

Well maybe 10 or 20 options max?

As for shopping I sometimes yearn for the good old days.

A visit to Ernie’s General Store in Hayfork, California sounds good, simple, easy.  I could get paint, gifts, clothing, hardware, and maybe even a television set – all in one place.  Those were the days when we rented a trailer from Ernie and it was in his back yard!   That was when we were young and living in the wilder more remote places of California.  It is now many decades later and there is no accounting for progress.  I recently heard Ernie’s store was for sale.  I wonder if it is still there.  

ernies-gen-store

Ernie’s Department Store Hayfork, California

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downtown lexington bistro

Downtown Lexington, Virginia has been abuzz with activities, young folks, traffic, and busy restaurants and shops.

It all has to do with end of school stuff (three universities in the area), plant sales, art shows, farmer’s markets, and the advent of Spring and Summer!

My friend Norma and I had lunch downtown at The Bistro.

The quiche was grand, the atmosphere was upbeat, and best of all, we had the chance to catch up on our lives.  It is always so surprising how much there is to talk about after about three or four weeks.

Corky is here!  That’s our son, who arrived Wednesday from California.  We met him at the door (like in the commercial) with all our technological questions (and gadgets) stored up for repair or clarification and pleas to help us with everlasting computer confusion.

 “Hi, good to see you.  Come on in!  None of this works.”

Cork has been offering Windows 10 lessons ever since he arrived.

I am now safely floating around in the Cloud too, but I keep thinking of the song, “The Little White Cloud that Cried.”  Isn’t there danger in trusting a cloud with all your family pictures?

 

Corky may be slightly overwhelmed by all the required tutorials.  Tomorrow will be devoted to Dashlane – a site that will store your passwords for you.  I think that is like a vault (in the cloud?).

“Everything on Microsoft is RIGHT CLICK Mom.

Now what do you do next?”

“Right click,” I reply.

“Great!  You are getting the hang of it.”

We had dinner at The Pink Cadillac again, which now boasts an expanded menu!  Interested in fried shrimp?  It’s there.  Or pulled pork barbecue?

pink cad interior

Like everyplace else around here, the old place was crowded with happy people.  Isn’t this a wonderful time of year?

Finally, who can discount the weather?  It rains almost every day. And folks are getting fed up with humidity and downpours.  I still love the sound of raindrops falling though, and tend to run around cracking windows open to increase the volume.

The good news is Big Foot is now reliably Small and the plantar fasciitis less sensitive.  It’s still there but seemingly subsiding.

It’s Bad Luck Day – Friday the 13th – but around here, there is a whole lot to be thankful for.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hearing the Zither Once MoreAlpine_Zither_001

It began with a zither player named Tomy Temerson who came aboard our river boat in Germany to provide an evening of surprise entertainment.

His “zithermusik” was fabulous as we listened to tunes like Edelweiss, La vie en Rose, Maria Elena, and the theme from the Third Man.

The zither, according to Tomy, originated in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the German speaking countries of Europe).  And although it is an ancient musical instrument, its heyday was in the 1920’s. If you could not afford a piano you would buy a zither.  Tomy played for us on an instrument made in 1928.

Tomy Temerson, Zither Player

Tomy Temerson, Zither Player

Bill was especially excited to hear this music since he listened to his mother play when he was a young boy.  And we were so moved by the beautiful music and the unexpected surprise of the evening that we were both on the verge of tears.

From: http://musicofyesterday.com

A zither is a stringed instrument that is plucked with a “plectrum” and could be one of the most ancient musical instruments.  It consists of a flat box which lies on the table, strung with five metal strings passing over the frets, and from 27 to 40 strings of various kinds played as open strings plucked with the fingers to form the accompaniment to the melody which was played with a plectrum, on the strings nearest the performer.

Hungarian Gypsy Music

Silver Duo 2

On another evening two violinists came aboard, accompanied by a guitar player.

They played classical music that was so heart rending we were literally struck dumb.

And then they veered off to Hungarian gypsy music!

When I was a young girl, my Hungarian father extolled the beauty of such music.  He told me how it went from deeply tragic and sad to extremely lively and joyful, and that it inevitably would bring the listener to tears.

I was stunned to hear the music of my father’s origins played by a wonderful trio of beautiful  talented young people.

And yes, I was brought to tears.

As you might imagine, we purchased both CD’s!

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Photo from Amazon.com

RANDOM RANTS – AGAIN

It’s Friday and the sane people in my life are recording normal weeks.

How I envy you all y’all.

Well, my own week started off nicely with a dog visitor who earned a place in our hearts in about five minutes.

Then a friend and I went exploring around Clifton Forge way in Virginia.  And that was fun too.

BUT MIDWEEK WAS A DIFFERENT STORY!

 Mid-week was UPGRADE-TO-HDTV-TIME and my excitement knew no bounds.  That’s “High Definition Television” in case you do not deal in initials.  Anyway, I was looking forward to a clearer, brighter, more magnificent television picture.

Isn’t technology grand?

A nice Direct TV man named Joe arrived and trotted around from room to room, messing with the the grandgirls’ little sets in the back, then messing with the big television in Bill’s secret lair, and finally getting to my just-the-right-size set.   When Joe was done, all sets were in brilliant High Definition.  Could life’s little upgrades be this simple?  Ha!

A Dark Television

black tv

Joe was gone about an hour when Bill’s big television went dark.  Blank.  Totally unresponsive.  Did we do something wrong?  No.  Bill simply left the set on, was away for a few minutes and when he returned there was no television access.

No DVD Access

In that same hour, I lost all DVD capability on my just-the-right-size set.  Never mind watching a Netflix disc.

And unbelievably, more casualties were vying for attention:

The radio in the car went dead.  Huh?

Bill’s Krazy Kindle lost its internet connection,

and our smart stupid home phones went into answering machine mode

while we were saying “Hello.”

TECHNOLOGY = COMPLICATIONS = STRESS

Back to the HDTV problem – We spent hours looking at wires, talking, analyzing, comparing, arguing, studying, and finally calling for help.  In other words we were sagging with nervous exhaustion.

You can guess that we called the company to COME BACK – PLEASE COME BACK!

THIS IS ALL TOO COMPLICATED!

WE GIVE UP!

HELLLLLLLP!

This morning a very nice HDTV man named Jody arrived.

  • He took one look at the back of Bill’s big set and said, “Your power cord is not attached.”  He attached it and everything works fine.  Brilliant picture!  Hurrah!
  • Then Jody took one look at the back of my set and said, “Your DVD player is not attached.”  He attached it and everything works fine.
  • And the High Definition stuff is perfectly beautiful too!  Hurrah!

Jody was here five minutes, solved the major issues with two plug-ins and deserves “my hero accolades.”

I am sorry to say he could not help with stupid home phones, car radios, or Kindle connections, but I have a feeling something somewhere is not attached.  Restrain your comments please!

Here’s hoping y’all have had a satisfyingly calm and collected week of fun and frolic, minus the stresses and strains of modern technology.

And if you decide to call me and I don’t answer, leave a message because even if I am here, something is not attached.

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Peter DelVecchio 1

There is a man in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia named Peter Del Vecchio.  When he was only eighteen, all his worldly possessions were struck by lightning and lost in a fire, but that was not an ending.  It was only the beginning of Peter’s life pursuit.

I silently call him “Mr. Talent” because his musical talent is so overwhelming it has been a guiding light through his entire life and because well, I have heard him play.

“Music creates bridges,” he said when we met yesterday.  Peter Del Vecchio is a professional trumpet player who definitely creates bridges.

Perhaps the vision of a trumpet player conjures up marching bands, jazz and taps, but the truth is that a trumpet (and the man behind it), either solo, or in combination with other instruments, can create unexpected magic in unexpected ways.  And at the risk of sounding too “poetic,” I know that to listen to Peter play is to be transported onto lilting wings of pure joy.

That’s why I recently asked to meet him in person.

Sharing something about Peter here on my blog was the ultimate goal.  It seems as though I am leaning in the direction of introducing remarkable people in my little area of Virginia and how lucky we are that Peter and his family live here now.

Peter D 2

With a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey) and a Master of Arts degree in Music Performance (trumpet), cum laude Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, New Jersey), Peter did not stop there but went on “creating bridges” in the field of music education and beyond.

He has a long history of associations with schools and universities, community outreach programs, band associations. As teacher, lecturer, composer, director, and adviser, Peter has done it all.  And his greatest satisfaction is in the friends he has accumulated  over the years who say, “You have changed my life.”

The biography of a man like Mr. Talent is endless and pointless unless you can hear him play.

Peter D WeddingAnd play he does.  Peter is still performing for weddings and ceremonies of all kinds, is often invited to play at church services too, and is still available as an instructor for brass and other wind and percussion instruments.   His ever popular Trio Festivo includes two horns and a piano and is amazingly moving at any special event.

It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Talent and I am happy to introduce:

Peter DelVecchio

Email: phdelvecchio@aol.com

Telephone:  540 460-2440.

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To Vegas or the Moon

I felt like a pioneer woman as we ventured  into undeveloped desert on our trek to an adult amusement center.  Sedona and its beautiful red rock mountains faded away to miles and miles of starkly empty vistas.  Were we going to the moon?  No, we were going to the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas!

A Driver Perspective

The Paris

At the Paris

My little family sped through mighty vast wastelands to finally see a city of dreams emerge like a distant mirage.  I don’t know how any grown up can help feeling a little surge of excitement entering Las Vegas.  O.k. – I know it’s all fake but aren’t we all kids at heart?  Then there’s always the possibility of a jackpot!

At the Mirage

At the Mirage

Well, by the time I understood the “games” I had lost my heart and mostly my wallet to that fake amusement center.  Ah well.

We did squander what resources were left on great food and a show at the Mirage Hotel/Casino.  The star was a fabulously talented singing ventriloquist named Terry Fator.  He was fantastic.  He was the 2007 winner of the t.v. contest, America’s Got Talent, and I can understand why.

terry-fator

Vegas was the lure of course, but to double my pleasure, I was going to see my oldest best friend, Kit who lives there.  We met in elementary school and have almost stayed the same ever since.  Well, maybe we look slightly different now but our reactions to each other are the same.  She named me Dort the Snort in those early days.  And she was Kit the Wit.  Dunno why I so easily acquiesced, but for all these years I still call her “Wit” and she still calls me “Snort.”  This earns us odd looks if people overhear our conversations.

I did get to visit with Wit – never stopped talking and laughing.  Just the same as always.  A few more aches and pains to talk about, but just the same.Kit the Wit

Kit Posing

And then it was off again – to Carlsbad, California!  Stay tuned.  If you are bored, please note that Carlsbad is the last stop before returning to Virginia views.

Terry Fator photo from: http://www.stageandcinema.com

 

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