Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where Did September Go?

Can you believe that this is the last day of September? Soon I will have to think October and put my little ghost out for folks to see. Thirty days has September and they all fly by so fast. It is one of my top four months since I like flower gardens and nature. The other three are May, June and October. Hope you have a very pleasant last day of September. Do keep the people of Samoa and the Philippines who are still reeling from the tsunami that struck last week in your thoughts and prayers as well as the people around Atlanta, Georgia who have had terrible flooding too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My World Tuesday = Fall Flowers

My World Tuesday = Fall Flowers
September 28, 2009

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A Location in The Lost Symbol

A Location in The Lost Symbol
Look below.
Chapter 78 of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
"The George Washington Masonic Memorial stands atop Shuter's Hill in Alexandria, Virginia. Built in three distinct tiers of increasing architectural complexity from bottom to top--Doris, Ionic, and Corinthian--the structure stands as a physical symbol of man's intellectual ascent. Inspired by the ancient Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, this soaring tower is capped by an Egyptian pyramid with a flamelike finial."
Last Friday Jack and I drove with our younger daughter Jeanine to Old Town Alexandria for a nice lunch in old town. While on the road we passed both the King Street Station on the Metro Blue Line and George Washington Masonic Memorial that figures in Dan Brown's latest thriller. In the above photo you can see the temple atop Shuter's Hill and King Street. In front of the building you can see the famous Masonic symbol on the lawn. (By the way this hill is a perfect location for watching the Fourth of July fireworks being fired off on the mall in Washington D.C.)

In this photo you can see a bit of the King Street Metro Station on the Blue Line at the traffic light. A couple of years ago Jack and I took an hour long tour of this Masonic Memorial. I can tell you that it reeks of rich dark woods and marble floors and some interesting rooms that are open to the public. Of course not all of the rooms are open to the public. Here's how Dan Brown describes the inside of the memorial in Chapter 78 of The Lost Symbol:
"Inside the spectacular marble foyer sits a massive bronze of George Washington in full Masonic regalia, along with the actual trowel he used to lay the cornerstone of the Capitol building. Above the foyer, nine different levels bear names like the Grotto, the Crypt room, and the Knights Templar Chapel. Among the treasures housed within these spaces are over twenty thousand volumes of Masonic writings, a dazzling replica of the Ark of the Covenant, and even a scale model of the throne room in King Solomon's Temple."

Some Wins and Some Losses

Oh, Yeah!
Virginia Tech won.
Ohio State won.
Oh, Dear!
Miami of Ohio lost to Kent State.
(Now Fishing Guy can tease me.)
Oh, This Really Stinks!
The Washington Redskins lost to the Detroit Lions who were ranked as the current worst team in pro football. I have breaking news! The Washington Redskins are the current worst team in pro football. And so why was Tom Cruise at the game in Detroit? His daughter likes the Redskins. Go figure.

Piedmont Readers

It took a while but I now have on my other blog the report of the September Book Club Meeting.
Click here to read the brief report:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Eric Carle Children's Books

What is your favorite Eric Carle children's book? I love them all and always introduced the kindergarten students to his books when they came to my library for their weekly visit. I just got a new Eric Carle book from my Okinawa buddies Betsy and Jerry Plunkett who visited us in August. Thank you Betsy and Jerry. I know little Jack Aidan will like this book. He is crazy about Nemo and all sea creatures. And I have always been fascinated with just the name Seahorse. It seems so illogical and strange!

Hope everyone has a swimmingly good weekend. We might get some rain here in Virginia. We still need it badly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Skywatch Friday = Winery Umbrellas

The other Friday Jack and I made a return visit to a winery we had been to last fall. Barrel Oak Winery is right off interstate #66 so it is very convenient to go to for a wine outing. In the above photo you see some of the many umbrellas and tables on the patio of the winery.
And when you are seated at the tables this is one of the views that you can see.

Jack and I like to buy a bottle of wine at the winery and go to the patio to watch the sunset.

Here is a view of the Barrel Oak's winery building, the adjacent patio and the parking lot. Quite frequently the winery will have cookouts for guests under that long white tent you see in the background. This winery also has Friday night movies under the stars for guests. It is a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
And here's the best part. This winery caters to dogs in all shapes and sizes. People are encouraged to bring their dogs along for the wine outing. This little brown dachshund was adorable and was hanging out with that big black lab. The owners of the winery have two big dogs of their own and they have given canine names to some of their wines. For instance, there is a Bow Wow Red wine.
I think this might be the home of the owners of the winery. Pretty rural setting.
And here is another view of the vineyard and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Well, hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of a Virginia winery. Now please go visit some other Skywatch Friday memes by clicking here:

Washington D.C. and the Masons

Have you noticed that I haven't been posting a new blog each day. Well, I have two good excuses. One, I have been cleaning up my flower beds for fall. And two, I have been reading this Dan Brown book non stop. Finished it in less than 48 hours. I just had to read it because Jack's Mom was a member of the Eastern Star and Jack's Stepdad was a Mason. Secret societies fascinate me and I did learn a lot by reading this book. I also had to read it because all the action occurs within 24 hours in various spots in Washington D.C. I think this book will now lead to a new tour of D.C.----one to all the Masonic related sites discussed in this thriller. If you liked Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, you will enjoy this book as well.

Last Friday was book club night for the Piedmont Readers. The book up for discussion was March, by Geraldine Brooks. Geradine Brooks is a fantastic writer and this was a great read. Remember the book Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott? It was the story of the March family, specifically Mrs. March and her four daughters during the Civil War while Mr. March is off to war. The first half of March tells the story of Mr. March encountering the Civil War in Virginia and the second half of March tells the story of Mrs. March's reactions and reflections on what has happened to Mr. March when she visits him in Washington D.C. in a Union hosptital. I would give this book five stars!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My World Tuesday = Haymarket Day Parade

My World Tuesday = Haymarket Day Parade
Saturday September 19, 2009
Mounted Police
Out of Town Police
Colonial Drum and Fife Corps
(This Group Has Performed At Presidential Parades in D.C.)
Haymarket Mayor and Town Council
Little Queen of Northern Virginia
Evergreen Fire Department
Our Local Battlefield High School Band
Large Band From Our Large School
For Example: 900 Students in Freshman Class
Unicyclists Troop
Haymarket Area Supervisor: Corey Stewart
Where Is He?
Walking Behind The Car.
Another Politician
Another Politician: Deeds
He Is Running For Governor
Old Antique Cars
Christian Rock Band
Fireside Church
A Bumble Bee
The GEICO Gecko
That's it. Now go visit some other My World Tuesday memes by clicking here:

Honey of a Meeting

Last Wednesday the monthly meeting of the Manassas chapter of NARFE was a honey of a meeting since the organization got to listen to two local beekeepers speak about the business of beekeeping. One topic discussed was the recent disappearance of so many of the nation's honeybees. One third less honeybees this year on top of one third less honeybees the year before. The situation is so dire that honeybee keepers this year drove their bees in semis across the country to California to the almond groves to pollinate the flowers so there would be a crop of nuts. On these trips the bees obviously can't get out and scout for flowers for nectar so they are fed corn syrup! This lost of bees is called bee collapse. I suggest you do a Google search to learn more about this. If the bees disappear, humans will soon disappear because we are on the top of the food chain that start with bees pollinating crops that produce food directly for us or in the case of meat provide food for cattle, pigs and chickens to eat. Why are the bees disappearing? Some scientists suspect a bacteria or fungus is the reason. In the above photo Clark Griffith and Bruce Hafner have on beekeeping jackets with attached netted hats.
In this photo Clark Griffith explains how the bees recreate perfectly the design on the bottom of hive tray as they build up the honeycomb. He explained that it is fascinating that they can do this and do it perfectly.
Below are ten honey facts we learned from attending this meeting.
#1 Honey is good for treating allergies but do buy the local honey that has the antibodies of your area.
#2 Honey color and flavor depends on the flowers the bees visit. Want lavender honey? Get it from hives near a lavender field. But don't put hives near a large stand of rhododendron or azalea bushes because then the honey will be poisonous.
#3 Honey can be used to treat these medical problems: arthritis, breathing problems, bruises, minor skin burns, bedwetting, anxiety, hot flashes, muscle craps and an alcoholic hangovers.
#4 Don't store honey in the refrigerator. Store honey in a closed container in a dry cupboard.
#5 If the honey becomes white with granulation it is still good. To remove the granulation just place the container on a trivet in boiling water until all the crystals melt.
#6 Baked items like cakes and cookies will last longer if baked with part honey as the honey acts as a natural way to retard drying out. This is good to know if you are sending cookies to the kids at college or the troops overseas. To substitute in baked goods use this idea: replace an equal amount of the sugar with an equal amount of honey and then reduce other liquid by 1/4 cup.
#7 It takes a bee 15 trips to a zucchini blossom to successfully pollinate the flower so that there will be a zuchinni.
#8 Honeybees literally work themselves to death so that the old adage stay as busy as a bee is not good advice for humans to follow.
#9 Honeybees are like termites in that they swarm when they need more room. Literally one half of the group will leave to go find a new home.
#10 The queen bee lives the longest. She can live up to six years.
That's it. Now go have a honey of a September monday morning !

Sunday, September 20, 2009

After The Friday Rain

After the Friday rain the sun appeared on Saturday. Just in time for our local Haymarket Days Festival. I'll post pics of the parade on Monday for My World Tuesday. In the meantime go to Dickie's blog to read some Haymarket Days commentary and to see some photos she took of the pre parade events: Have a great Sunday. Ohio State finally won a game! Go Buckeyes! And Virginia Tech defeated Nebraska in the last quarter in the last minute. Go Hokies! The University of Washington defeated the University of Southern California. Thank you Huskies!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Skywatch Friday = Grey Skies and Rain

Skywatch Friday = Grey Skies and Rain
Finally a chance for some rain for Virginia. We certainly need it. It has been over a month since we got a decent inch of rain. I didn't want to get wet this morning so I opened the window in the breakfast room and shot two photos. Below you will see raindrops on the knockout roses.

That's it. Now go visit some other Skywatch Friday memes by clicking here:

This And That Thursday

Random Musings on This and That for Thursday
#1 When you picture an apple in your mind is it always red? I always picture a red apple. But I bet good old Martha Stewart could show us apples in a dozen colors and shapes. I think we have been brainwashed by the kindergarten teachers. Walk into almost any American kindergarten classroom and the calendar for September probably has the numbers on apples, red apples. Now why couldn't the apples be green or yellow?
#2 All summer I watched the following two shows: Big Brother and America's GotTalent. I was so happy to see Jordan win the $500,000 on Big Brother. She was so cute and honest that it was like a breath of fresh air. And then that country singer with the saddest face I have ever seen won the America's Got Talent show contest.
#3 Tonight the fall reality show Survivor starts. I can't wait!
#4 Jay Leno's brand new 10:00 P.M. show started this week. You know what I think. First, this is just the same show we saw at 11:35 P.M. for so many years. Nothing looks different to me. He just ditched the desk! Second, Jay Leno and NBC are doing this for all us old folks who no longer can stay up past the late night news to watch the late night show. Baby Boomers we have been saved by Jay Leno. We can get our nightly laughs and still get a good night's sleep too.
#5 Do you know any wahoos? A wahoo is a student, professor or alum of the that great Virginia public university that is always listed in the top 25 colleges or universities in the nation---the University of Virginia. Our older daughter is a wahoo and I think she would like for little Jack Aidan to be a wahoo someday too. Click on Jenn and Terry under my blog list to see little Jack's first impressions of UVA or else click here:
#6 Hoof and Mouth Disease. It happens to cows and it has also happened recently to Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina and to Kanye West on the MTV Awards Show. Quick somebody call a vet.
#7 Have you picked up on this. Almost every week another celebrity dies. This week it is the death of Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary '60s folk singing fame.
#8 The Washington Nationals in spite of talent still stink!
#9 The Washington Redskins in spite of talent still stink! And I still don't like Dan Snyder holding on to the Redskins as the team mascot. He needs to change the mascot name just like my alma mater did. Miami University of Ohio, which was named Miami after an Ohio Native American tribe, was the Redskins when I went to college. Today they are the Redhawks.
#10 James Madison University in Harrionsburg, VA is a Division II college and last week they almost knocked off in overtime at College Park, MD that Division I powerhouse the University of Maryland. Go Duke Dogs! Jeanine give a cheer! Maria give a cheer. JMU rocks.
#10 Fall is football season. Go watch a game this coming weekend.

Eliza Again

Little Eliza Gariety had a very busy weekend last week. She had to don her apple girl costume and head to Sidney, Ohio with her folks.
She helped lay a wreath in honor of the anniversary of 9/11.

She got to ride with five other beauties in the Applefest parade in downtown Sidney, Ohio.
News Flash: If you want a good recipe for apple cake go down my blog roll to The Pioneer Woman Cooks or click here:
Pioneer Woman has great recipes to share on her blog and this one looks like one I will try except I'm not messing with flipping that hot apple cake out of the skillet. I know for me I would just either burn my fingers or let the cake slip on the floor or break the nice plate. I say let's just serve this baby from the skillet and turn each individual piece upside down when putting it on a dessert plate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My World Tuesday = Mom's Garden

My World Tuesday = Mom's Garden
Thru Younger Daughter Jeanine's Eyes.

Everyone sees something different. I tend to see the whole big picture when I look at my garden. My daughter Jeanine always sees the little details that are in the big picture. I must admit her photos are much more artistic and intriguing than mine. Bravo Jeanine. I guess three years of photography at Hayfield Secondary has paid off. Hats off to that great photography teacher at Hayfield Secondary.

Now folks go visit some other My World Tuesday memes by clicking here: