Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I'm on Facebook.
Not right now, but I have an account - I guess that means a page. It took me awhile to figure out how it works - who can see what, how to hide some of the programs that pop up from it, but I think I've got the hang of it now. I really like it - at first I thought it was a waste of time. AND, I felt slightly guilty. Here's why.
My first excursions were a very tentative peep at who was on there - my sister, some local friends, friends from our playgroup down in Chesapeake - and then I got a message from a high school boyfriend. Nothing much - how are you, I'm married, are you, here's my story, here's my blog (and then I never heard from him again; that blog gets 'em every time!). Then an old friend died, and I saw his best friend on FB, made the contact, exchanged the necessary information, forwarded my blog address, and BAM! that contact died on the vine.
So, I thought that was all FB was good for - old BFs (or old BFFs) contacting, seeing if you were divorced (I guess?) and moving on. But what has been so RICH for me was the other friendships I've re-established. I've seen folks there I haven't talked to since 10th grade - or since grad school 10 years ago - and we're having a hoot seeing how each other turned out. It really is a great way to reconnect.
Friends from our old church in Chesapeake are online, too, as well as those who have moved on from there to other parts of the country. Its neat-o watching pictures of their babies and kids growing up, as well as being able to relate to some of the struggles they face in their lives. They share their difficulties and I share mine - kind of like we did face-to-face, but its a larger network that is just as strong in cyberspace as it was in the nursery/at the playground/fellowship hall.
The best use I've seen with FB is the real-time ability to connect with - HAH!- local friends. We scheduled a great playdate at the park, keep up with our kids' colds (kind of like the Covington Flu Report) and complai- I mean, compliment our husbands. Right now we're planning a girls (moms) night out at the local Mexican restaurante - and according to the posts there may be an outburst of impromptu karaoke (without a mike - without a karaoke machine) fueled by, "a gallon of margaritas". Hmmmm. And if we make the paper, we'll be sure that one of the mom's picture is on the front page - again - for a small-town scandal. I'll be sure to include a link if it gets that out of hand!
I've had to put myself on FB, email and blog restriction during the daytime. I don't want it to come before my Littles, and once Andy gets home, he has reign over the computer. Plus I want to spend time with him - unelectronically, if you catch my drift. So, Facebook waits, piling up status feeds, collecting inbox messages and receiving posted pictures, waiting for me to peruse at my leisure. Around midnight. See you online!

Friday, March 20, 2009

the ladies

Where do you keep your vacuum cleaner? In the hall closet? In a corner of the living room? In the utility room? Under the stairs? Ah, yes. Those are all such reasonable, normal places.

These days, our vac is in the center of Hannah's bedroom. Plugged in.

Every evening before we tuck her in, we go through the ritual of a full ladybug sweep. There are usually four or five on the ceiling, the window frame and on the curtains. She lays in bed for an hour or so, reading and looking at her magazines. Every so often we hear,

"Ladybug alert!"


"Daddy-o, come get the ladybug!"


"Ladybug on the ceiling!"

And she lays there, glaring at the offending critter until it is whisked away to the bowels of the upright vacuum, presumably to rest in peace with the dust bunnies and cheerio crumbs.

Here's her "ladybug face:"

The problem is, of course, that her windows allow the Western sunlight, and thus the bugs congregate there in the evenings to get the last of the sun's rays. Then, with her light being on until late, they figure this is a good a place as any to party and who knows what.

Those bugs know when their number's up; they see (or hear?) the vacuum wand coming at them and they hunker down, drawing their spindly legs underneath. I've watched them after I've gathered a few manually - when you roll them on their backs, they are perfectly flat underneath with all those legs kind of folded up like airplane wheels in takeoff position.

Rumor is these aren't true ladybugs at all but rather some hybrid Japanese Beetles released in our area a few years ago to keep the "bad bugs" in check. We occasionally see these bugs out in the yard, but mostly we find them in buildings - such as our own personal home. As we've looked at properties for the last year we have seen colonies of dozens, and even hundreds clustered in corners of barns, abandoned barns, spring houses and the like. Even long-vacant homes seem to have a multitude on their western frontier. Back when we had chickens, they wouldn't touch them.

Did you know that ladybugs release a kind of yellowish fluid as a warning system to keep predators at bay? It is el-STINK-o. And bitter. How do I know it is bitter? Andy was hollering at me the other night to come for a major emergency: Abigail was munching on a ladybug. Little wings and a red shell were conspicuously on her lips and chin as she struggled to get the offending taste of of her tongue.

There's nothing really more to say about this, it is what it is, as Andy would say. But I have found that I have been vacuuming the bedrooms more frequently as of late - I guess the visual of a vacuum sitting in the middle of the room is a motivator?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

At long last, a post!

My time on the Net is limited to when everyone is asleep and about 30 minutes during the day when the girls are watching a video or otherwise engaged, and we've all been off our schedules a bit, so that's why its been awhile. I have lots of posts running around in my head, but of course I forget them once I sit down to write. What have we done lately?
The most exciting I think has been the Maple Festival up in Highland County - there's still time to go, if you missed it last weekend!
Its held the second and third weekends every March. This past weekend was cold - and rainy. I think it was 37 degrees when we got there - to Monterrey.

(entering Monterrey)

The doughnut line for those delicious maple doughnuts looked to be about an hour wait, so we visited the school complex for hot dogs, crafts and displays first. Then it was off to the Highland Center for cloggers, but 220 South was still playing so we drove back over to the doughnut line. I mean, we make that hour long drive every year for the sole purpose of getting those warm maple doughnuts, so we had to keep tabs on the line. It was still long, so we went to the VFD to check out their craft displays. OK, I was scoping out ideas, but that is to be expected. Once finished there, we drove back over to the doughnut line, which was still long, but was moving.
Now, this is where I get to brag on my husband who makes such big sacrifices to ensure his girls are taken care of. We had a dilemma: the Highland Cloggers started in thirty minutes, but the doughnut line looked to be a 45-minute weight. I mean wait.

(Abbo getting a lift up the hill to the Highland Center)

So what did Andy do? He stood in line for 30 minutes while we girls sat toasty in the car. Then, when there were still about 10 people in front of him, he had us go back to the Highland Center so Hannah could get her fill of clogging. He walked - oh, I dunno, I guess 1/4 a mile at least - in the rain and cold with 3 dozen doughnuts to where we'd parked the car (below: view from the Highland Center).
Then he waited for us in the HC for the cloggers to do their thing: He was dry by the time we found him - warm the whole time in his cammo coat, but a little damp. Thank you Daddy-o!!
We revived on warm doughnuts (this may be sacrilege, but I personally think these warm fresh doughnuts are even better than Krispy Kreme! There, I said it!) and went back to the school complex for another craft show (this time to scope out the gourd displays), and then to hit the road home at about 3PM.
A good time was had by all - the snow was just about all melted (snowline started just north of Warm Springs Mountain) by the time we left, and it was still overcast and foggy, but we were tired, happy and bottomed out from sugar withdrawals, so it was a quiet, peaceful ride home. A quick stop at Bartley's Meat Market and we were set for supper and an early bedtime!

Friday, March 6, 2009

trip to WV

We stayed with my aunt and uncle and their two kids over in Fayetteville for the last couple days...Andy was in a class in Richmond. The girls love it - and although I didn't get a picture of it this time, I'm pleased to report that Han is getting rather adept at chicken wrangling. In fact, it is an activity at which she excels, if I do say so myself.

As far as the other livestock were concerned, Abigail got to ride her first pony:

Then it was Hannah's turn....
Then they rode together for awhile...

Now is the time to tell you about a Very Bad Horsie. Look closely at this picture and see if you can tell which is the bad horse:

Hint: None have been to the hair stylist.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another snow day

"Checking the weather." (I'm lucky she's at least wearing my shoes!) mmmmm.....tastes like snow! (That's a bot of hot cocoa in preparation for an outside adventure)

See that dot in the center? Its Han's first adventure of the day: to the unspoiled snowfield of the back yard!

I only THOUGHT I'd be able to get a picture of the front of the two of them standing still. Together. Looking at me. Not moving.


More Hannah action shots and a baby swing angel.

Photo Essay #1

Is that for meeeeee?
Oh, thank you. Just lemme finish this egg.

I know I'm cute, but you just wouldn't recognize me until I've had my coff-coff.