31 May 2010


We wake up at the lovely Microtel in Beckley, WV. The best that can be said is that this was a cheap room—clean and convenient for our rafting excursion—but we decide to check out today and find a more logical place for tonight after we decide whether we head home or add on to our adventure. We’re discussing the Tree Tops zip line adventure here at the New River Gorge, or a detour to Pittsburgh to see the Cubs vs. Pirates. Both have downsides—CA’s back is still an issue re the zip lines, and we’ve discovered that the Tuesday game is a night game and we’re not convinced we want to wait until Wednesday to head home.

30 May 2010


Ocean Beach Club, Virginia Beach, VA
Gold Key Club Resort

It’s hard to leave the Ocean Beach Club. If there’d been any openings on the Virginia or North Carolina coast we’d have stayed at the beach for another week. I can’t say enough about Virginia Beach and the Tidewater area. There’re so many wonderful places to go and things to do, and just hanging out is great, too.

The food has been fantastic—not one bad or even mundane meal. We’ve eaten at Surf Rider, Π Pizzeria, 11th Street Taphouse (twice), Catch 31, Mahi Mah’s, and RockFish. And, we leave knowing we missed some restaurants this time around. You can only eat so much.

29 May 2010


Gentle Yoga at 9:00 this morning. A surprise—it was an hour-and-a-half class. Wonderful! I’ll certainly miss having Oceanfront Yoga across the street from me…

CA is ready to drive to Pungo Strawberry Festival, but I want a little Internet time and then a phone call with RvH before takeoff. Besides, it was just starting to lightly rain as I walked back from Yoga and our planned activities are all outside.


JA is full of wit and fast thinking...

After a trip to the mall to play, JA ran into a bit of trouble in the back seat with LE and his mommy warned him and then told him he would get spanked when they got home. At home, she asked him if he remembered why he was getting a spanking and what he should have done.

He replied, "Yes. I should have told you that I was tired, thirsty, and hungry."

A few days earlier when he and LE had finished their meal, he exclaimed, "Good job, Lucy. Take a bow."

28 May 2010


I've said it over and over again during this week--I'm having the very best time here in Virginia Beach, and we will come back!

We didn't have to set an alarm last night as my yoga class isn't until 5:30pm, but DM calls us just after 8:00am. He's home from work with a head cold and after resting and then doing a bit of work, he's taking the little girls out to give MK some down-time. We talk a bit about their planned return move to the U.S.--trying out some ideas and schemes... They've almost decided to rent their house as the market for sales is down to almost nothing.

27 May 2010


                Croatan Beach, Virginia Beach, VA

A very good day at the beach. We had an easy wake-up and I took some time to edit Aunt Margie’s Christmas letter and sent it off to GJ before leaving for my 10:00am Yoga class. These classes at Oceanfront Yoga couldn’t be any better. Hands down better than I’ve experienced at my health club or other venues. A great workout, with an ocean view.

26 May 2010


Loving Fatal Last Words by Quintin Jardine. Really well written and interesting for the genre. And, he has a long backlist! I'm in heaven.


8:30am Yoga on the beach! What a way to greet the day. I love it.

CA wakes up with a very sore back and finds a lounge chair by the pool to soak up some sun. After Yoga I go over on 31st (Laskin) to a few shops (The Globe, an International Collection, The Lemon Cabana, and Megs Swimwear, among others) and then Mary’s Nail-Tique at 321 Laskin Road for a small touch-up on the French manicure I’ve had since Thursday. My manicure’s never last long, but the manicurist seals all my nails with an acrylic gel. She’s so sweet and refuses payment, but I insist.

By the way we hear Navy jets taking off and landing throughout the day and a bit at night. The tourist info acknowledges the noise and calls it the sounds of freedom. You do get used to it, and with that spin you even feel a patriotic pride each time the engines roar.

25 May 2010


JE calls with a few LE and JA stories. LE has really taken off walking and has improved dramatically in just one day. The kids had baths together tonight for the first time, and were entertaining and entertained by splashing and giggling and howling at themselves. JE says that in the past few days she has seen a tendency developing in LE to bully… JA’s a tender soul who’s struggled with his baby sister and now reached a place of peace (for the most part) and acceptance. Just in time, it seems, to become the bullied!


Norfolk Tides, Harbor Park

We’re up by 8:30am and CA makes a pot of French Press with Conscious Cup Sunrise Blend. I forgo breakfast as I’m headed to a 10:00am Yoga Stretch class across the street at Oceanfront Yoga. By 11:10 I’m showering and as I dress for the day CA realizes that the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore’s AAA team) baseball game is a DAY game that starts at 12:15pm rather than the night game we were planning to attend.

I quickly make the tuna salad I’d been imagining, and by the time my brunch is complete it’s time to leave for the Harbor Park site. It’s a partly cloudy day and very windy, so the ballpark is cool. And, we’re a bit under the overhang, so I don’t have to worry about sunburn today.

24 May 2010


Rough night for both CA and I. Over-stimulated and over-tired we finally sink into deep sleep and don’t roll out of bed until 10:00am EDT. That’s O.K. We’re on vacation and in the Eastern Time Zone…

Since we’re getting a late start we share a bagel with peanut butter in our studio and decide that we’ll rent bikes and explore The Narrows—a beach area we’ve never visited. Before we head out I realize that I missed a free yoga session at 8:30am. Oh well, it’s free on Wednesday, too. I’ll just pay for the 5:30pm Essential Yoga class.

23 May 2010


Tamarack, WV

We’re up fairly early this morning. CA goes to the lobby for coffee and cream cheese (for our Great American bagels) while I roll out of bed and shower. It’s a hair washing morning and so I need 20 extra minutes to prepare to meet the day. Coffee helps.

We dial up some southern gospel as we head east on Int 64. After a few tries and a few minutes of several sermons (one from a strong southern drawler, who curiously says about the Canadian way—aboot), we settle into some good old hymnal singing and I carol along—even though CA is looking askance!

As we near Beckley, WV I remember Tamarack and the fact that they serve food prepared by The Greenbrier, so we determine to stop there for a late morning brunch and some fantastic Greenbrier coffee. Tamarack is chock-full of WV crafts and country music memorabilia, so we spend about an hour over brunch and browsing. Enjoying the journey.

At brunch at Tamarack we both choose the quiche of the day—Roma tomato, Gruyere cheese, ham, and fresh dill—with a Caesar salad that, in addition to the requisite croutons, includes some finely minced red onion and sliced black olives.


This group is The Lilly Mountaineers.

22 May 2010


JA has always loved the Swiffer. Early on he used it as intended. JE or MA would take one of the joints out and then it would be toddler-sized. JA early imagined it as a guitar and perfected his strum on his imaginary Gibson.

Today, JE said that JA brought the Swiffer to her and asked, “Mommy, can I hit the lamp with the Swiffer?” Of course, she said, “No.” But then added, “Thank you for asking.”

JE says that the whole mood of their home has changed lately as JA seems to have passed beyond the immediacy of the terrible twos. Currently, he uses “please” and “thank you” on a more than regular basis, and he’s far more interested in LE and her well-being. Life is good.


We drag our behinds out of bed about an hour later than we’d planned because we both tossed and turned and wandered the house until the wee hours—pre-trip dislocation(?).

Anyway, we’re on the road by 7:30am with a quick trip to the ATM at Fifth Third. We’ve decided to wait until Elk Grove Village to exit at Arlington Heights Road for a couple of blocks and breakfast and coffee (free on weekends) at Jarosch Bakery.

21 May 2010


New River White Water Rafting

We've white water rafted the New River before--twice for me and once for CA--and we are planning on spending all day Memorial Day Monday repeating the thrills and experiencing some new ones. The only possibility that we won't is if we decide to stay at the beach for another full week.


Well, not quite packed yet, but everything is clean, folded, and neatly stacked. Since we're driving we can take beach chairs and towels, my favoritest pillow and fleece blanket, yummy snacks, and we won't have to worry about capacity or suitcase size/weight.

More stuff happening in and around my house as I ready for summer and lots of porch sitting and eating. Photos to follow soon.

This new laptop froze up and wouldn't budge last night, but the trip to Best Buy and my interaction with my favorite Geek was quick, informational, and productive. I now know some new tricks to get things up and running. And, most importantly learned the trick for opening iPhone videos with Microsoft products--download Quick Time and voila! Up 'til today all the videos of LE and JA were sideways--45 degrees.

CA is at a soccer game--as a spectator--so I'm holding down the fort, doing some laundry for him and hoping he gets home in time to plant a couple things in the yard before it's too dark. We may be digging and planting at 6:00am tomorrow!

By Sunday we'll be relaxing to the sounds of the surf at the Ocean Beach Club, Virginia Beach, VA.

20 May 2010


The Squishy Little guy is always coming up with something original. No one quite knows why, but on Sunday he would grab both of his babysitter's cheeks and say, O-o-oh, ya hot sandwich. Over and over again.


I teasingly told CA last night that he had to work a day to cover my day of beauty which I scheduled for today--just by chance I needed one of everything!. He came back a few minutes later and said that actually I had more than earned my day of beauty for all the work I did around home yesterday. He's a keeper!

It was our tradition for years to have dinner at Porter's Oyster Bar in Crystal Lake on the night before a trip, but alas they've closed. Tonight is two before our trip (on Saturday), but what-the-heck we may just have to go out tomorrow, too.

19 May 2010


Today I have lots of energy and set up the porch and the deck for summer--to a degree that I haven't in years. (Photos to come!) I have way too much stuff stored in our basement, so today I poked around and found lots of fun porch-type dinnerware and cute gardening stuff. Then, I move the twig rocker from one of our guest rooms to join the bright blue cafe table on our deck. And, I repurpose the giant twig basket from magazine rack to future flower basket--I'll wait until after vacation to add the plantings.

18 May 2010


I've been incredibly steadfast in my exercise routine--walking 4 - 5 times a week and increasing my yoga classes from 2 sessions a week to 4. It feels so good. I hope I can keep it up.

Of course with vacation looming my routine will change, but I plan to substitute miles each day along the beach for the health club track and hope to drop into two or three yoga classes while  we're in Virginia Beach next week.

One way of the other, the spirit is definitely willing, and the body needs the workout.

16 May 2010


Tonight I threw together a dinner. We're going out later and we've eaten out two nights running, plus I was out of town for three nights and ate out almost every meal... Here's what we cooked:

8 oz.           Dry pasta, such as rotini
4 - 5 slices Thick-cut bacon
1/4 cup      Sweet onion, diced
3 T.            Butter
3 T.             Flour
8 oz.           Half-n-half
6 - 8 oz.     Frozen peas

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Steam 6 - 8 oz. peas until tender crisp.
3. Cut bacon into 2" pieces; cook until crispy; drain well and set aside.
4. Pour off all but 1 T. of bacon fat; saute 1/4 cup diced onions in remaining fat.
5. Melt  butter and add flour. Carefully stir until well blended and cook for a minute or two. Do not brown.
6. Gradually add half-n-half; stirring until sauce-like consistency--adding more if necessary.
7. Pour creamy sauce over well-drained pasta.
8. Mix in bacon and onions; Carefully stir in peas.
9. Season with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg

15 May 2010


We are set up and ready to roll, except for needing a fresh coat of paint on the screened door. Don't you just LOVE the summer sounds of a creaking and slamming spring loaded screened door. When we were small and headed outside, Grandma Korta would always call, "Don't slam the door..." Aw shucks (though we weren't allowed to say shucks), what fun is summer if you can't race through the house and escape to freedom punctuating your adventure with a few summer sounds.


    new laptop
    old laptop - may she rest in peace...

  1. Do not keep your laptop on it's charger all the time unless you've removed the battery
  2. Do not buy a higher capacity battery than the one that comes with your laptop, even if the manufacturer says it will work
  3. Do not attempt to service your own laptop over the phone with a Dell (or any) techie... Best Buy provides a free 15 minute analysis/evaluation/check-up and they are real live people
  4. The Geek Squad deserves respect!
  5. Do not ever let your laptop warranty expire
  6. Realistically, if your laptop lasts two years it's had a fine life and you have to let it go to heaven
  7. It's o.k. to mourn the death of an electronic device, but don't obsess


JA went to the Omaha farmer's market this morning. Feeling more sociable than usual, he actually told the balloon-animal-making guy what he wanted himself--a blue dog. A few minutes later he saw a street person guy walking about with his dog. Uncharacteristically, JA volunteered, "That's a big dog."

And, the guy said, No, that's a huge dog!"

JA shoved his blue balloon dog near the guy's face and said, "I've got a blue dog, and his name is Norman!"

(Norman is the big dog who lives next door to JA, and JA is terrified of him.)


You get the idea that I'm a proud mama?
Kind of like a new grandbaby... Not!
Isn't this just the yummiest color of coppery brown?

A reference from Psalms to God's provision in times of stress and grief. Eventually, you begin the slow recovery and, "A shout comes in the morning..."

My days of mourning our Dell laptop have come to a close. Last night we went to Best Buy and I fell in love with a Sony laptop with BluRay, no less. When BB opens in an hour, our new baby will be ready to come home and brighten our lives again. Last night the Geek Guy did a free 15 minute assessment of our old laptop, just TO BE SURE... After a few steps in the process, he connected a different charger cord to see if that would make a difference, and ACTUAL SMOKE!!! came pouring out of the toddler (less than two years old) Dell. Well, at least we know now that the mother board was really gone.

14 May 2010


Getting even one good photo was impossible, but there's only
one squishy little guy in our group, and he has ginger hair.
You have to look closely on the left to see grandchild #5.
NJ's outfitted in pink and brown and rather blends in with LG.

I shouldn't really call JA my squishy little guy any more because he's stretched out and gotten so big, but I love his soft and spongy little cheeks and thighs, and plan to call him my squishy little guy until he's old enough to know the difference! Then, I'll stop. Maybe.


Just some random photos of our grandchildren from over the past few years. Most of our photos are either in on-line albums or on our Dell hard drive which is just now being transferred to an external hard drive.

I haven't used this desktop Dell for much of anything in a long time, so it's been a short trip down memory lane...

Isn't God good?! And, faithful and loving. He gives us more than we can ever ask or think to ask.