Friday, March 28, 2014

my Great Physician

Day 5 of no shoes for my man, and his pressure sore is greatly improving. It's amazing how something so small and in such a simple place can create such havoc on the body.  I'm thankful Bobby keeps his vanity in its place and is not afraid to wear houseshoes in public. That would be awful if life had to screech to a stop because of something so "small".  He was concerned about my reaction. To me, it's a no brainer:  wear shoes and have him lose a foot or have a stroke (people with paralysis have a condition that raises their blood pressure when there's a problem...the body's way of screaming "There's a problem here!" when the nervous system can't do it's rightful job), or wear houseshoes and us live life normally. Is there a choice?

This seems to be the week for medical dramas...though one, like my friend Celia who has been about to pop for a month now, is pretty awesome. At 1pm today, the process begins for little Easton (who Bobby's still calling BooBoo) to arrive.

Others, not so awesome. My Mom is having some minor to serious health issues right now, for which we don't have a whole lot of answers. We've had some good news, but she's still very dizzy, having vision problems, and is also dealing with a lot of inflammation in both muscles and nerve endings.

My cousin Rachel has the first round of reconstruction surgery this month. She's more than ready to start the last leg of her cancer journey. My friend Wendy is just a few months behind her. And Hank, Bobby's best friend, received word that the terminal tumors in his lungs are no longer there...but he's now facing chemo to deal with all the tumors outside his lungs.

And one of my Facebook group friends is really struggling right now. I married into the quad/disability life. I can't imagine having your normal married life stolen and being forced into it. To me, that adds an entirely different emotional dimension to the frustrations of disability. And my heart hurts for her, for what she's lost.

I like to fix and organize things. But some things in this world I simply have no power over. And today I turn to my Great Physician, who has the power not just over the body but also over the heart and mind and soul. I am so greatful and awed that the One who sees the entire picture, not just the present moment and the thoughts and intent of the heart, but also the future moments of joy, elation, pain, and frustration, cares enough to tell me "Don't let your heart be troubled" (John 14:1). Easier said than done, but still very reassuring.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

P R O G R E S!

Yes, I know progress has two ss at the end, but that last S didn't fit in my cheer cadence.  You'll just have to live with it.

I never did find my missing quilt square. I ended up buying a fat quarter of that fabric so I could make another one, and I am happy to report that the square is finished. :)

I am making great progress in cleaning out my sewing room. Currently I've moved all boxes of scrap fabric (more shoeboxes than I realized!) onto the dining room table and am trying to figure out a way to sort/save/toss it all. Originally I thought I would simply sort everything by color, but the second box I opened was full of bags containing pieces of cut material. Alabama/Auburn colors cut into small pieces for a double ring wedding pattern do not match horse squares of brown and orange, nor 2" hot pink squares with grey stripes and white elephants or green flannel. Bobby says I should just make a crazy quilt, but I think that would be too crazy for even the craziest person. Regardless, I am now on day three of cleaning and sorting from that room.  I am now on a fabric moratorium (I cannot buy any more new fabric) through the end of the year, at least, and I am taking Bobby's challenge to finish two projects for every new one I start (Disclaimer: in the sewing room...this does not count toward the yard, the garden, or the house).  My Mom laughed when I told her and said she wanted a text message or a phone call as proof when that actually happened.

The only down side to all this cleaning and sorting is that my visual senses are overly stimulated and my creative juices are dripping and drooling. It takes everything within me to keep working and not stop and start on one of the many projects I've planned and prepared for "when I have time". 

Meanwhile, we're one week down with turning goose eggs in the incubator. 21 more days to go!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thank goodness it's attached...

Over the past week I've been trying to ignore the mess in my quilting room and actually quilt. I was down to the last square I needed to complete (for a block of the month program), and I was missing a 4.5" square. I know it should be there because I sewed the two squares together, marked the diagonal line, stitched on either side of it, then cut on the line I marked, which should make FOUR squares made up of two triangles each. So how did I wind up with only THREE squares when I returned from the ironing board (which is at the other side of the house?)  I backtracked my steps several times, I folded a load of laundry, I cleaned up my cutting board, I even checked the study, the phone in the kitchen, the desk, and the bathroom. It's not there. So now I have a nine patch that cannot be sewn together because it is missing the center left square. And the remnant of fabric I have left to create a new one?  It's .5" too small. So I guess either tomorrow or Thursday I'll take my uncompleted block into the store to show them that Yes, I have worked on the block, and why I can't complete it, and hope they'll accept that so I don't have to pay for the next block.

How does one lose a piece of fabric?

To which my husband would dryly reply, "The same way you lose everything else."

Yes, it is a good thing my head is attached.

P.S. 9 more months 'til Christmas.  And yes, I still have Christmas music playing from the shuffle mode on my ipod. ;)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday, Monday

Well, my day is now 1/2 over (2/3 over if you take into account I'm playing taxi for someone tonight), and only 1 of the 3 things on my to do list are done.

But that's okay...because I spent a good thirty minutes on youtube discovering that I am not the first, nor will probably be the last to have "leggy" tomato seedlings, and that they come about from too much heat and not enough light and that all the young people making videos have never done this before, so they're only transplanting/fertilizing based on what they've read online and not because they actually know what they're talking about...Yeah...quite the bummer.

And Bobby and I have chatted about non-consequential matters (he laughed at my picks for the Sweet Sixteen and championship game...I've never made a bracket before) while I semi-cleaned off the kitchen table, which is a daily and losing battle.

Meanwhile the sunshine beckons me outside to finish pruning the grapevines, but knowing that I only have three hours to complete some work that desperately needs doing, I'm trying to resist that urge. I mean, just because the sun is shining doesn't mean it's warm outside.

And Monday rolls on...

Friday, March 21, 2014

an interesting find

The most incredible and bizarre thing happened this past month...Bass Pro Shops opened in Cary.  Yes, you read that right. Gander Mountain opened in Morrissville last month, and now a Bass Pro Shops in Cary. I recognize that Cabala's is coming to Garner next year and this area is centrally located in the state, near the lakes, between the mountains and the ocean, so it's smack dab perfect for multiple sporting stores. But for those of you who don't live around here, Cary has often been called the Containment Area for Relocated Yankees. Before I proceed any further, I enjoy shopping and eating in the town of Cary and am impressed with the diversity in buildings, although like many people, I find the lack of store signs and directional signs most annoying and find it hard to get from place to place there without written directions. I also LOVE how wheelchair accessible its buildings are, which is a far cry from the town of Garner. When you think of a person from Cary, you think international or very well educated, a person who likes nice things...not someone who watches Duck Dynasty or enjoys the great outdoors outside of cycling. Their ice cream shops like Cold Stone Creamery sell yogurt.  It's just a very different place from Garner. So everyone in this part of the county laughs when they find out Cary has a Bass Pro Shops.

Due to all the inclement weather we've had, their grand opening and its sales have been spread out throughout this month. We actually drove out there Saturday, as I wanted to check out a filleting table they had in the advertisement.
I loved it, and it would be perfect (once I mount a clasp for holding a catfish on one end) except it was 12" too tall. And due to the sturdiness of the table and the way the legs were made, it doesn't elevate or lower. I asked the sales clerk if they had any that were lower, and he looked shocked, then said "No, but you could probably take a hacksaw and make it the height you want."  I'm sorry, Mr.Salesman, but I am NOT paying that kind of money for a product only to spend several hours sawing off its legs and hoping I got them even.

So we walked around and looked and found all kinds of cool stuff, debated on the table, and then decided no. Maybe if I actually have time to fish more this summer and get frustrated as I try to clean a fish we'll reconsider, but until then, I'll make do with my kitchen, the wire pliers, a bucket, and my huge cutting board that covers both sections of the sink. While it's not the ideal height either, it's still closer than this table!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

book characters

A friend of mine recently loaned me 8 books by author Jennifer Chiaverini...all quilting novels. I didn't pick them up the first week, as there was simply too much going on, but by the 2nd weekend I was exhausted and in need of a resting break (as opposed to a nap).  I know this is crazy to many people, but to me there's nothing more restful than to totally lose yourself in a book. Non-fiction and devotional books are not the genres where I can totally lose myself, and while books like the Hunger Games or Jodi Piccoulti are good, they're not exactly restful reading to me.  All that to say, I intended to read for three hours, and almost three days later I finished the third book in the series.

I can resonate with one of the main characters, even though I am nothing like her. She hates her sister's quilting (from the past and both currently looking at her old quilts) because her points in triangles are often chopped off, her seams don't totally line up, and her finished blocks are never the same size. It sounded a lot like some of my quilting, and the character's comments reminded me a lot of my quilting friend Bonnie, who is patient, direct, and very matter-of-fact in her quilt reviews. (And I must clarify before I type in...she's one of the sweetest souls I know and would do anything for a person in need...she just wants her quilts done right. :)

The fourth book struck a chord in so many ways - the researching of family history and finding things weren't as you thought, the honest sentiments about not having children and yet helping others who do have kids, etc.  For Christmas I got a DNA kit through, and my results finally came back last week. I know very little about our family history, but I was surprised when I got the results back, both by what was and wasn't there.  I'm hoping in the next month I can delve deeper into some census records to see what can be verified, though I think most of what I'm looking for can never be validated. But it was still neat to read a book where the thoughts of the characters, even though set in the 1800s, where mirroring thoughts I was having today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

round and round and round and round

On Sunday mornings we've combined all three kids' classes for the first 5-10 minutes to work on a song, Only a Boy Named David. The middle of the chorus is "and round and round and round and round and round and round and round...." and my 4th-6th graders love to make fun of that (AND sing it over and over and over...even after the younger classes have gone).

And that's how a I feel about gardening.  Every year, by the end of June, I'm hating myself and wishing I had NOT planted a garden. And every year, by the end of December/first of January, I start thinking about what I could plant where and what I'd like to have. Then by the first of February I see a seed catalogue or get an announcement from a nursery online...and there I go again. round and round and round...

So here we are mid-March, and 3 of the 4 tomato seed sets I've planted are sprouting  (whoohoo!), and I'm still waiting on the peppers. Of course, it's not even been a week, so there's plenty of time before I pronounce them duds. (and here's where you'd cue Weazer from Steel Magnolias saying she doesn't even like tomatoes, but she grows them because that's what southern women do!  I actually do like to EAT tomatoes, but I hate growing them...they stink!)

Today I also have to dig out the incubator and make sure its thermometer and settings are working so we can start incing two goose eggs. Yes, I think it's now official. I have totally lost my mind.

And if that's not crazy enough, Hudson's Hardware starts selling chicks this week. The breeds I want aren't coming in until April, so I have enough time to talk myself into/out of that before then. I do want to head to AL in May, and having young birds for someone else to look after while we're gone for a week is not optimal.

That's the extent of my craziness, at least for the moment. Who knows what I'll come up with tomorrow?

Monday, March 17, 2014


Back in the late '90s, even those of us who had cheap cameras didn't take a lot of pictures, especially of every day events. Film and developing costs money. Money that if we did have, we'd much rather spend on something fun than a piece of paper to tape to the wall of our locker or stick in a photo book.

CHS Class of '91 lost another classmate this weekend. I pulled out our senior yearbook and looked through our senior section, reminisced a little, but only one person had a photo to post, and she took the most pictures of anyone in our class. As much as I dislike cell phones, especially smart phones, and the rudeness they bring out in people, I do think it's neat that today's generation can easily capture a moment or a memory, and pull it up years later.

Before we marched out the night of our graduation, our principal told us to pause and slowly look around at everyone, that it might be the last time we saw a classmate, that even if we had reunions every 5 years, it was likely that by our first reunion someone might be gone. It was a sobering and killjoy thought, one of those things boring grownups say that seems so annoying and irrelevant. But I did quickly scan the class. And now 23 years later, I wish it had been a true look and not just a scan. There's something troubling to see ages read 25, 39, and 41 in an obituary, especially when the other obits read 70s and 80s. I know we all have an appointment with death, even if we don't know when it is, and none of us are guaranteed a long life. But it still troubles me, and leave me wondering what could have been.

Friday, March 14, 2014

the last of the quilt show

I'm sure if you searched twitter you could find pictures of all the car quilts, the gorgeous applique  quilts (I did take one of an all Black @ White Baltimore Album style quilt, but my hands were too shaky and the pic was way too blurry to save...a big problem with my larger camera), and the theme/statement quilts. I thought I took photos of several landscape quilts, but if I did, I can't find them on my little memory card. But below is a quilt that I absolutely loved. Made as a wedding quilt for a Jewish couple, I was mesmerized by every single detail...and this quilt was full of them. The oak tree represented the bride, and the other Australian tree represented the groom, who was from Australia. 

 At the bottom in each corner, there was an applique bird representing their state/province.
 And the wedding date...

 I love how using three shade of fabrics on the roots gave the tree dimension. From a distance, you can almost feel the hole in the bottom of the tree.

 Sorry for the blur on this one, but this was right before lunch and I was getting shaky (plus I had caffeine that morning). But I wanted a close up of how she layered the fabric for the tree limbs and the leaves. I'm sure there's a stabilizer underneath as the edges aren't finished (meaning you wouldn't put this on a bed except for decoration or would use it as a wall hanging), but the simplicity in the quilting was amazing as well. There wasn't an excessive amount, but it was well placed and truly made each leaf pop. I  really hate I didn't get this artist's name.

Next is a landscape, which I have on my bucket list of quilts to make.

 Even though I have a quilt idea/wall hanging in mind for my Mom that involves birds, I never ever thought of anything this detailed! And a close up of the blue jay:

I think this is what they call fiber art, or thread painting. Each of these colors in both the blue jay and the cardinal are created by sewing threads back and forth (on the sewing machine). It's possible someone used an embroidery machine, but judging by the colors and placement, I can't help but wonder if it wasn't done by hand on a quilting machine. What I wasn't able to determine was whether or not the background was simply quilted fabric, or if the artist used fabric paint. Regardless of what techinque was used, it was exceptionally pleasing and impressive to look at.

And that wraps up all the photos for 2014's quilt show. Thankfully there was only one nude realistic quilt this year, and I think I managed to steer Bobby away from it. If he saw it, he didn't comment on it. Had he seen some of the feminist/political quilts from a few years ago, he would have never agreed to go. But I think he had a good time, despite the crowd and the difficulty that always creates with a wheelchair. I don't know that we saved any money by tacking this on to the end of our vacation as opposed to me riding the bus with a Raleigh quilt shop, but we were home a little after dark, as opposed to 11:30pm had I taken the bus.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, part two

This quilt was one of the many crowd stoppers. There seems to be two different types of modern quilting: the 3D geometric shapes and the no pattern anything goes style (which really isn't modern, as groups were doing that during the Civil War).  I don't know how many quilters went up to the tag to read the name, artist, and pattern while I was waiting to take the picture, only to step back with a baffled look, shake their head, then walk on by. The reason?  It's an original pattern that a scientist/quilter created.  Normally (but not always) you see patterns like these created by males, often former engineers, who either retired or lost their job due to downsizing, and took up quilting after pestering their wife or Mom who was a quilter. After all, quilting does involve shapes and math. But this lady wrote up her description full of large words that no simple person uses, but basically saying she had to figure out a way to curve the pieces at different degrees to make the sphere. 

 I love her color choices, especially how the purple and black toward the bottom blend into the background without disappearing (and if that's not purple, don't tell me!)

A close up of the curved piecing. It appears that she cut small pieces at the same angles and then sewed them into strips like a fan pattern. But this is one of those things I probably wouldn't get up the nerve to try without a pattern.

 And a more distant look at the "circle" spiraling out. I hate I didn't photograph the name plate, but like everyone else, I was too put off by all the jargon.

And tomorrow will wrap up the quilt show!

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, part one

I didn't take a whole lot of photos as I did my first year, but it wasn't because the quilts weren't impressive. One, I had my large camera (my small one is currently not working), and two, the exhibits were quite crowded. And as my collection of quilt photos have grown, I've not felt the need to photograph quilts that are great as much, but now just try to capture the ones that have things I'd like to learn or try.

 From a distance, this quilt/wall hanging looked just like a piece of art.

 An up close of the man's sleeve. You know how they always tell you to press you fabric flat before quilting? Not here! The wrinkles, quilted into the backing, give dimension and texture to the man's jacket, and the offset lines create the look of a bended arm.

 How do you make a napkin pop when it's simply white fabric on white fabric? Not only wrinkle the napkin fabric, but quilt two different layers of gray see-through material underneath to create a shadow.  And no...NO finished edges!

 Wine glasses?  More sheer fabric, quilted one on top fo the other to create the shadows of drink and the illumination in the glass. Not sure whether or not they used paint sticks on the yellow, but either way, the glasses, their contents, and the glas stems were quite impressive.

 And the bottom of the wine bottle...more layered fabric with no finished edges but lots of up and down stitching for texture.

And the artist quilter who made this outstanding piece. I hope to google her when life slows down a little to find out more about her and her work.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cold Harbor, VA

Tonight as the wind blows, I'm reminded of the bitter cold wind and the snow flurries the days we were in Richmond, VA.  The last day of our history part of the trip, we drove to Cold Harbor. Bobby's great-grandfather had six older brothers who fought in the Civil War. Three of them never came home, and one of them died at the Battle of the Cold Harbor. Below he's braving the elements to read one of the signs. You can tell by the grimace on his face that he is VERY cold.

By this point in the war, soldiers have learned a little more about fighting, and have ceased some of their face to face combat and have started digging trenches with wood supports. In the pictures above and below, you can see the remains of the CSA trenches. Whether the farmers were unable to remove them or decided it wasn't worth the time and effort is unknown, but this area was not farmed again. Nearby farms that did not have trenches on them found that if they ever dug too deep, they'd encounter skeletons.

The trenches were built into T shapes.  I was amazed at how intact some of them still were, at least 36" high. Excerpts from letters and diaries were included on signage throughout the driving trail. Some soldiers recounted how the creek ran red as they had no other cover than the creek's brushes as they unexpectedly encountered an entrenched unit.  One of the three houses, still standing in the nearby vicinity told how the family was traumatized as they hid in the cellar, hoping to be undiscovered and the troops would leave, only to realize their home was being turned into a field hospital, and they had to sit in the corner and watch the blood drop through the floor boards from above. I cannot imagine. I think this site more than any other helped portray the horrors of war, and its cost to the people who lived through it. And that was one thing that I was impressed with the Confederate Museum...all the quotes from soldiers on both side telling how sick they were of "soldiering" and how they had witnessed more death and evil than any person should ever have to see in a lifetime in just one month. 

I have to admit, while I would highly recommend doing this trip in much warmer weather, I did enjoy it. And hopefully tomorrow I can post our last day, my day, when we headed home via Hampton, VA and the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Conference.

Monday, March 10, 2014

taking a pause

I still have two more Richmond posts to write, but today my heart and thoughts are in Asia. I guess by now everyone has seen the reports on social media coming from North and South Korea.

Sometimes it seems that I focus on trivial matters in the Christian world - how to get silly boys to listen in class at church, how to respond lovingly but truthfully to hostile comments on FB, how to find balance between people always needing/wanting something and living my own life...and these 33 people are facing the ends of their lives just for living out their faith. What would be the first thoughts on my mind in the morning if I lived in North Korea?  Would I wrestle with the reality of never getting a break from being a caregiver the first 1.5 hours of every morning, or would I wrestle more with whether or not my husband and I should continue having devotions (even owning a Bible in NK is grounds for a lifetime of imprisonment, if not execution)?  A simple act that I take for granted every single morning in North Korea is an act of defiance and a blatant declaration that Jesus is more than their Savior but their Soveriegn LORD...higher than even Kim Jung Un.

I spend my days wondering how and what I can fit in my schedule (and some days like last week dealing with unexpected surprises from UPS that Buster dismantled into the mud while we were gone and I missed church cleaning up those medical supplies) while these people are probably wondering if and how they'll get the chance to say good-bye to their loved ones.

It really puts things into perspective.  My prayer is that every soul who heard the Gospel from these 33 believers will allow the seed to take root, and that King Jong Un will find the execution spark he has ignited will start a fire he cannot quench. I pray their families will find comfort during this time of grief, when they cannot openly grieve for their "criminal" family members, and that neighbors will not socially ostracize them but will support and encourage them during the difficult months ahead.  And may I be grateful for the freedoms that I truly have.

Friday, March 7, 2014

St. John's in Richmond, VA

Briefly changing time periods, we stopped visiting Civil War Era sites, and switched to the Revolutionary War. When Patrick Henry and others were trying what to do with ongoing issues with England, their group was dismissed, making it treason for them to meet and discuss political matters without being called back into session. Richmond was the nearest location to Williamsburg (the then capitol) that had a place big enough for everyone to meet. The Pastor of St. John's Episcopal church agreed to let them use their building for the meeting.  It was here where self-trained lawyer Patrick Henry ended his speech with "Give me liberty or give me death."

Our tour guide in the church that has been expanded three times from the original building.

 I found some of the original pews most interesting.  All the newer pews are built to match, though not as tall as these. The doors were placed around each seating area as there was no heat in the day. Families brought heating stones and bricks to place around their feet, and the doors kept the draft away, enabling a little bit of warmth for each section during the sermon.

 As the church has been expanded, there was nowhere to go in the already full cemetery but over graves. Here is a marker in the nave, showing where a former minister is buried underneath the church in that spot. I personally found this a little disturbing.

 Loved the carpet...we saw carpet like this in many places throughout Richmond. Can you imagine having to sweep/brush this clean?

I hope to research this phrase later. The symbol in this window can also be found on tombs throughout the graveyard. Our tour guide told us it stood for "In His Service"...the I, H, and S are intertwined in the more "modern" symbols.
 We saw arched tombs like this in Beaufort, NC, and the tour guide there said it was to keep tombs from washing away during floods. The James River is nearby here, but the church is on such high ground I can't imagine water ever getting this high. It was so cold that day that no one was hanging around outside to ask about these two very different tombs.
 And an older example of the "In His Service" symbol.

 Never seen a tombstone quite like this one. The shame is traditional, but the engraved urn is unlike anything I've seen (not that I've visited a whole lot of graveyards).

 The front of St. Henry's church.

 More tombs that are almost underneath the church.

And here are some on the other side of the building that are also against the church, and you can see what appears to be others up under the building itself.

If you ever visit Richmond, this is a must on your list of places to do. It's not a free tour, unlike other museums, but it is educational in a great way, the tour guide is open to questions of any kind, and the elevator from the street (entrance from the street to the visitor's center is not accessible and we had to enter on the other side of the block) takes you directly into the cemetery. I must say, I was not prepared for the door to open and immediately be facing tombstones. I almost felt like we were in a movie. But the cemetery itself is fairly accessible, as is their brick rampway to the visitor's center, and the tour guide easily adjusted the tour entrance to make it work for us.  An incredibly awesome place that will make even lukewarm history learners interested. And I must say, I learned quite a bit.

One quick note, the walkways around the church block are accessible, though there are a few spots around trees where the roots have buckled the bricks or the sidewalk and it take a little maneuvering.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Richmond historic homes

Richmond homes, their styles, closeness in proximity, and constructional materials, reminded me a lot of Washington, DC. It was too cold to walk the streets and enjoy the views, but I did manage to snap a few pictures from the van window.
 One of the things I love about old homes is the turrets, as pictured above. When I was a  child, my younger sister and I used to say we wanted to live in a house that had one so we could have a round bedroom. Now, I realize how impractical that would be, but I would love to actually go inside a house that had one just to see how they decorate the rooms.

 Old churches, especially those with bell towers, are also a fascination for me. Most of the old churches in downtown Richmond were stone with gorgeous stained glass windows. If I had to live in a city, I'd like to live across the street from an old beautiful church.

This is not a great shot, as I was trying to capture the different styles on the same street (at least 4 grouped here) and how close the houses were to each other. Some houses a person literally could not walk between them, others had enough room for a heating/air unit, or a small gate, but that was it. And this also captures a difficulty I would have living in the city: parallel parking. It's a feature I never mastered when learning to drive, despite my Dad's most valiant teaching efforts, and throughout the years I've always found a parking deck or somewhere else to park that didn't require it. So far, it really has been that simple. But here?  There's no other option.

I'd like to visit Richmond in the springtime when it's warmer and walking weather.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Richmond, VA

The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA will be moving its artifacts into a new museum (combining with another group). The White House of the Confederacy, as seen below, and ten steps away from the museum will remain open. After visiting, we understood the need to relocate. You can see Virginia's Commonwealth University surrounding the location. Since the university has expanded it's medical center, dwarfing the museum and historical house, visitors to the site have dropped more than 50%.

For history lovers, it was a great place to visit. Displays were organized by time, but also included a lot of personal information, including excerpts from diaries and letters.

Another museum that medical history lovers would enjoy is on Broad Street, shown below. We visited there on our last day. While cold and windy, there wasn't snow flurries that morning, and the sun was shining. 2/3 of the way up the elevator/stair lift, it started smoking and then quit. Bobby was stuck, unable to get out (you now, the safety mechanisms that keep wheelchairs from rolling that also trap you in when the things malfunction) and the VERY kind and professional park rangers called the fire department to get him out, while also bringing him their personal blankets and offering their own jackets to keep him warm. The firemen were nice, considerate, helpful, and they got him out of the lift, as well as down the ten cement steps, after carrying his heavy chair down the steps. They more than earned their pay that day.  As I've told him more than once in the last 15 years of marriage: Life with you is never dull.

While waiting for the firemen, I did quickly walk around the display room, saw the bone shattered by a bullet and how it was amputated (and the soldier from NC died while in the Union hospital), and spent even more time in the gift shop, quickly checked out my "girly" Civil War book that Bobby would have never ever picked out, then joined the excitement on the porch as they removed him from the lift.

I have to say, US Park Rangers and Richmond's firefighters, specifically Truck 1 Engine 1 Team, are the best in the world. I so wanted to pull out camera and start snapping pictures, but the rangers were already embarrassed and horrified by the incident, and I now most public officials aren't overly thrilled about photos of them in action, so I didn't even ask. They were hauling very precious cargo, after all, and I wanted their focus to stay on him. But I would recommend both of these museums to history aficionados (along with the Tredegar Museum, which will also be the new location of the joint museum).

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

gazillionth try

Well, I wrote two posts, complete with pictures, and attempted to post them last week, but either the hotel wifi wasn't strong enough or google was having problems...neither posted and neither saved as a draft.  And today, after I don't know how many attempts, I've only been able to load one photo.'s the first photo from a VA welcome center.  I think this is the first time I've ever seen a playground at a rest area, much less a welcome center. We both thought it was great.  Kids need to be able to play and stretch while traveling.  I know I certainly would have enjoyed this as a child during a stop. So hat's off to Virginia for providing a quality rest area (including a family bathroom).