Saturday, August 4, 2012


It was fun staying home and doing things "in the neighborhood" for a few calm days.

Day 2:

A lovely morning spent at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  The current "big" show is Indian art and objects from 1750 - 1950, mostly during the English Raj.  While the "art" was more "illustration" to my way of thinking and didn't really touch me, the objects were divine.

Jewelry like the most extravagant you have ever seen - huge diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls to die for.  Fabrics of the finest silk and cotton, woven in the most intricate of patterns, clothing and objects literally fit for the king - or in this case the maharaja.   No photos allowed, of course.

But in the side exhibit - Silver for the Raj - they did allow photos.

I love the intricate work.  You do use a tea pot like this for your Earl Grey, don't you?
Lunch followed in a lovely little cafe at the museum overlooking their pond, full of lotus.

And, what did we learn today?   The long white cotton shirt/dress traditionally worn by Indian men was called a "jama"  and the long, loose, white cotton pants worn underneath were called "pai-jama".  Give you any ideas?

Day 3:

What's a stay-cation without a bit of wine tasting?  right?  So off to one new winery and to one old one.  Met a nice trio from Pittsburgh who were on their way to the Outer Banks for a week with the extended family, but were stopping the same places we were, so we tasted our way thru some eastern Virginia wines together.

A lovely way to spend an afternoon.  And, yes, a few bottles of wine to remind us of a good time.

What did we learn?  As Virginia's wine industry grows, the quality gets better and better.  And, we are happy to help the local economy, when we can!

Day 1:  Yes, there was a day one.  A few hours in the garden and then a bit of reading while Mitchell had some very minor ambulatory surgery.  He is fine and up to making his world-famous gazpacho today.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday Workday with a Visitor

[Note:  I am officially on vacation for three days, so I think I will let Mitchell do the heavy lifting this "workday" and will share with you his new endeavor. ]

But first, you need to meet my Renaissance Man. 

A man of many talents and interests he has worked for social justice in both organized and personal ways, he has been a professional (and self-employed) artist, he has worked on the national level to encourage drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration for non-violent drug offenders, and he was one of the first website developers for Virginia's state government.  He has always been a teacher/trainer - training judges and lawyers, teaching scuba diving, teaching wood carving, and training choirs.

In retirement he has been the "plant man" in a nearby office complex and worked as a med tech/health educator, and (most importantly to me) taken over much of the day-to-day running of the house and grocery shopping.  Several years older than I, he stands nearly 6 feet tall, weighs in at 200 pounds, and plays a mean game of tennis, despite one replaced knee!  And, he's all mine!

I have left his first love until last, tho.  It's music.  Trained as a professional choral conductor, he has sung with folks whose names you would know and developed outstanding church choirs ... but not for many, many years.

About nine months ago, he bought a folk harp.  [I forgot to tell you that his photo is next to "instant gratification" in the OED.]  He was looking for something to do and thru circumstances happened on a used harp at a good price and decided to see if he could learn to play it.  Nine months later ... he's pretty good.

And, now he is the owner of the lovely new harp at the top of the page.   "Manon" is a French lever harp  - larger than his beginner harp, with more strings, and concert spacing - which is better for his large hands.   It was love at first sight!  She has a richer sound than the sample above and I hope to record her soon.

I'm going back to my vacation, while he practices.

[PS to Elizabeth and James ... he doesn't read this blog.  If you don't tell, he'll never know!]

Monday, July 30, 2012

Flowers in the House

This was a challenge.  My garden looks like Mother Nature has departed for cooler climes.  Almost nothing is blooming, so I turned on the sprinklers early Saturday morning and that nudged a few things to perk up and open.

This mini-rose has been a star for years.  The best part of my inheritance from my aunt many years ago, it's a reliable performer that starts early and blooms well into the fall.  The flowers are a bit strange.  Early in the season they are very white dark pink spots and picotee on some blooms, while others are pure white.  As the season progresses, tho, the flowers get more ivory with less vibrant splashes of pink, and many of these have a decidedly peach tinge.  Whatever the time, it's pretty and often covered with masses of blossoms.
A nest of Solomon's Seal leaves, a bit of Joe Pye Weed and a collection of bits and pieces out of the pots on the deck, and that's it:  salvia, verbena and one lone Lady's Mantle.
The rest of my treasure this morning was one zinnia, which I put close to my chair where I can enjoy it.

Be sure to stop by Jane's house (SmallButCharming) to see what's in the other houses.  I'm counting on our friends in Europe to have lots of pretty things to share.   Thanks, Jane, for organizing us!