Monday, May 28, 2012

Post Wedding Report

It was a perfect wedding weekend!  

I'll have to wait until the "real" photos come back or until friends begin to share 
since I took very few and most of those either had too much flash or too little.  
Rehearsal Dinner Table At Arnaud's
Friday's dinner at Arnaud's was an elegant precursor to the wedding day, 
and then began our  two day marathon consisting of  friends, family, and food!  

I only managed to get one decent pre-wedding shot of the men in the wedding party.  Having my four sons together for the first time in 18 months was a delight to this mother's eyes!  
And fraternity brother Drew fit right into the brotherly theme!!  
Asher, Drew (Best Man/Fraternity Brother), Clark, Carter, Owen
She was a stunning bride and their eyes were tender and literally sparkling with love for each other throughout the whole evening.  

The words spoken by our priest, who came down from St. Francisville, were touching and heartfelt and the Episcopal service reminds us that a wedding is a religious rite and not just a big party.  

After the rite then the party can commence but the two are separate affairs!  
And party we did!  
The food looked delicious but neither Joe or I ate more than a bite; 
we were both so focused on trying to catch up with friends and family 
whom we hadn't seen in 9 months or longer!

Photos of the gorgeous bride, friends and Clark being tossed 11' into the air by his fraternity brothers will follow in days to come!  

But meanwhile, here's one of the garter toss that came out passable after making it black and white.....

I was sorry that the festivities had to end, but memories were made, old friendships renewed and the love of our family has grown to include another member!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back in Louisiana!

Magnolias blooming, iron railings, hot sultry air..... we're not in Kansas Virginia anymore!

Yesterday we made our first visit back to South Louisiana since leaving in September.

We aren't going back to our former hometown but are down in New Orleans where we've already had

beignets for breakfast

a shrimp po-boy for lunch
and shrimp and grits for dinner last night.

Why are we here?  Because we've got a wedding this weekend, and we'll be adding another daughter-in-law to the family!!

Here we are with the future bride and groom and her parents at dinner last night.....

Happy smiles all around!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring in VA

I'm in awe of the way that many bloggers manage to post things on the day that they happen!  A Mother's Day post that is actually posted on Mothers Day?!  How do they do it?

I'm coming to grips with the fact that I'm more the serial novelist genre of blogger than the greeting card variety.  

Maybe when I get my desk set up at the new house, I'll be able to get on a schedule.   Maybe!

Spring in VA has been as lovely as I'd hoped.

Our horseback rides lately have included a lot of oohing and ahhing over the mountain laurel and native rhododendron that are blooming up in the woods.

I'd never seen mountain laurel before and it's a lovely thing.... shell pink with sharply edged scalloped blossoms shaped like tiny chalices.

Before the buds pop open to the chalice shape they look like little pleated balloons.

When we came upon our first stand of the native rhododendron, I thought that I was seeing an old cabin site where Southern Indica azaleas had been left behind.  I never realized how similar in appearance the hybrids are to their native genus cousins.

The negative about spring in VA is the ticks!  Sarge had no less than about 50 on his lower legs after our ride this weekend.  Which means that he probably had at least that many more that I couldn't see.  Bugs have never bothered me but with Lyme being prevalent in the county, I'm pretty creeped out by the tick poplulation.

Other news:
  • Mother's Day included calls from all the "kids" and a hike with Barb and Rich to Apple Orchard Falls just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Enough elevation change and far enough to tire us out without being exhausting.  Mountain vistas, flowers and waterfalls.... what a day!
  • The New Market Parade at VMI was a sight to see.  Every company was in full dress out on the parade grounds with the band and bagpipers, cannon fire, speeches and echoing Taps.  Meeting the cadets at VMI is always refreshing;  I've yet to talk with one of the young men or women who wasn't polite and friendly.  

  • Art on the Green showcased more local talent and I enjoyed talking with the artists.  Two small pieces were begging to come home with me but Scrooge (aka Joe!) reminded me that we needed larger scale art for the new house and that the basement was full of smaller framed art just waiting to be liberated from their boxes. 
  • The Rockbridge Symphony proved once again that a small town can have a wealth of talent and support fine arts.  The lightning rod on the steeple of Lexington Presbyterian was probably trembling during the last piece!  What a finale!!   I tried to inconspicuously snap a photo during the concert and despite turning the flash off earlier, it reverted to original setting and to my horror, sent off a small blast of light.  Joe was about ready to help me crawl under the pew in shame.  And after all that,  it turned out to be a crummy photo!  :(    I learned a lesson:  never photograph during a concert.... never!  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Soon to be Newlyweds

Look who came to visit the construction site!  
They're masters at time management....  
Neither med school, job responsibilities, or their wedding (which is less than a month away) 
stopped them from journeying from New Orleans to VA.  
They came to town to see friends and to attend the Foxfields steeplechase, 
but I'd like to pretend that we were also a big reason for their visit!

Or maybe they came all the way up just so that I could make a red velvet cake for his birthday?!
The next white frosting in his future will be on his wedding cake!
They are so cute and perfect for each other..... I'm counting the days!  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We've Got Walls!

Sheetrock, glorious sheetrock!  Technically it's "blueboard", but we've got walls!
Joe pondering the immense number of holes in the ceiling! 

Den with bags of plaster ready for the finish work!
Our two installers are doing an excellent job.  We were thinking that with only two of them, it would take quite a while, but they've been steadily working along (including over the weekend) so that the upstairs was being finished up today.
View from the kitchen island.  Beverage area ahead.  Den to the left.  
The basement level should go even faster.... guess I'd better start picking paint colors!
Master Bedroom
Staircase (temporary) to the basement

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Quick NYC Visit

Mother's Day is just around the corner and there are numerous reasons why I'm not being 
nominated for any "Mother of the Year" awards. 

One of them is that I hadn't taken a trip to NYC to visit Asher on his home turf in years. 

I tried to recall how long it had been and gave up when I got to 2009!
Between the time and the cost, it's been simpler over the last years to pay for an airline ticket for him to come down to us, but we knew that needed to change.  So we finally got our ducks in a row and made a quick trip to Manhattan.

The seven hour drive was easy (yes, we drove!) and it was a cinch to navigate in through Lincoln Tunnel to the Essex House hotel on Central Park South.

The variety and juxtaposition of architectural styles boggles my mind...
But, oh the cost of staying in New York!  Ouch!  We had a quiet comfortable room that was more per night than our first house's monthly rent!  And the Xterra could have been ensconced in a hotel room in Lexington for the cost of the nightly garage fees!

Oh well, it's "only" money....  right?  And the cost of seeing our second son.... Priceless!  :)

One thing that Lexington is sorely missing is gargoyles....

The views could give me a major crick in my neck! 

Details everywhere if you only take the time to look.
Do you see them?  The grumpy pelicans standing guard?

Another reason that I won't win Mother of the Year is that while I took scads of building photos, 
this is the only photo that I took of my son whom I hadn't seen in four months!  
Shame on me....  but isn't he handsome?  
As you can see, after almost six years in the city, 
he can simultaneously text, walk and pose for a photo without crashing into people.  
I'm not sure how he does it!

Maybe that won't count as the only photo of Asher since I got the side of his face in this one....

Do I need another reason not to get Mother of the Year?

One of our purposes in going to NYC was to meet Chris.  He and Asher have been together for 2 years now and we hadn't met him.

But did I take any photos of him?
No... just plenty of buildings.
What was I thinking?

I'm looking forward to getting to know him better and hope that we didn't horrify him too much as Asher's "country come to town" parents!

If it weren't for our wallets needing to recover and the house needing our attention this summer we'd be planning a return trip already.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Artist's Studio Tour

After running errands this morning, we headed to the house to take photos of the drywall progress and found that my camera battery was kaput!

Oh well, trust me that we've got blueboard up in our bedroom, bathroom, closet and part of the laundry room!

It's exactly one year to the day since we turned the first shovel of dirt out on the hill.  The unexpected complications with the back porch cost us at least 6-8 weeks of time, but we're happy with the results so that's what matters.

Maybe it's a good thing that I don't have house photos to post since I'm playing catch-up and have "old" pictures that I'm wanting to share....
 Such as.....

They're impossible to grow in south Louisiana due to the heat and humidity so it'll be a treat to plant a few at the new house!  I almost ran off the road a few times ogling bushes around town!

Seriously, who'd have ever thought that I'd live where there were lilacs!  

One of our April experiences was the "Tour of Artist's Studios".  Eleven private studios were opened to the public and the artists invited us to come inside and see the spaces where they work.

Normally not open to the public and not sales type galleries, the studios and their settings ranged from historic homes ....

to a log cabin nestled beside a rocky creek.

The loop trail took us 20 miles about the county on a beautiful spring day.  A few stops were right in town, but most had a sense of privacy down tiny lanes or gravel roads;  the scenery on the drive itself was a joy.

Rich was the chauffeur for the day and maintained his good humor remarkably well despite three backseat drivers trying to tell him where to go..... let's just say that reverse was used more than once due to conflicting advice!  :)

There were bright modern spaces where a little paint on the floor is to be expected! ....

Wood fired kilns......

A field a few steps off the porch of a woodland studio....

A forge and smelting area.....

Such a variety of spaces!  

The artists themselves included sculptors, painters, potters, photographers, jewelers and more.  Displays at several studios by guests brought the number of artists to 30 at the 11 stops and all were eager to talk not only about their spaces but about their creative processes, work and techniques.

It wasn't only the studios that were worth seeing:  the artists brought their talents to gardening and interior decoration as well.  Even the rocks in their pastures weren't immune to being tinkered with by the owner/artist......

So much to marvel over!

In typical County fashion, the event was free and we kept bumping into people that we knew from bridge, church, the house construction, etc.

We're counting our blessings everyday that we're here....

Friday, May 4, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again!

Back to blogging and the real saddle after a two week hiatus from both!

In Louisiana, it was easier to rationalize the expense of having the horses since they were right in the backyard.

Even during those stretches of time when we didn't have time to ride, we were taking care of them twice a day for feedings and we got pleasure just seeing them grazing around the house.

But boarding them in VA means that we're throwing money away (lots of it!) if we don't take the time to drive over and ride regularly or at the very least groom and visit so our habits need to change!  

I can't blame all of our neglect on the house construction:  there are so many things that we're enjoying doing around town that setting priorities is difficult and it's easy to overlook the horses when they aren't staring us in the face every morning!

The trees today out in the woods (and Joe's shirt) really were this green! 
No color tweaking here.... he was nearly camouflaged!  

There were so many birds singing in the woods that it sounded for all the world like a recording from the Amazon rainforest!

The last two weeks have been busy ones and we've done some things that I don't want to forget so I'll hit the highlights in a few upcoming blog posts.

But in current events,  we had a milestone delivery at the new house yesterday!

Sheetrock... Blueboard.... 

Whatever you want to call it, there's now going to be a shift from all these months of building the guts of the house to seeing a home begin to emerge!