Monday, March 29, 2010

My World Tuesday = Jefferson's Poplar Forest

My World Tuesday = Jefferson's Poplar Forest
His Vacation Home down south in Bedford County

When Thomas Jefferson tired of all the guests who came to see him at Monticello outside of Charlottesville, VA he would head south to the vacation retreat home he designed and built in Bedford County Virginia. Jack and I toured it in the summer of 2003.

Here is Jack waiting at the entrance for the tour guide to usher us into the home.

And here is the tour brochure the guide gave to us after we entered the home.

Popular Forest is an octogonal house. It looks very much like a minature Monticello.

This is the very old boxwood garden that Thomas Jefferson had planted at Popular Forest.
Well that is our Virginia house tour for this Tuesday. Now please go visit some more My World Tuesday memes by just clicking here:

What's Married Mean?

What's Married Mean?
Since we have started to use the M word around Little Jack he has been wondering what Married means. He asked his Daddy last week if he could marry Aunt Gigi. When his Daddy said no he asked his Daddy if Daddy could marry Aunt Gigi. Daddy told Little Jack that he was married to Jack's Mommy. Then Little Jack said that he wanted to marry Mommy. Finally Jack went to play with his cars and trucks and had them get married. Red truck will you marry blue truck?
Yes! Yes! So someone or somethings got married last week. LOL!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Little Jack Meets Little Barney

Little Jack got to go meet Little Barney the other week. Little Jack was excited, thrilled and a bit scared of this wiggly black four legged puppy.
I think Little Barney was a bit scared of that excited jumping for joy two legged boy named Jack Aidan.

After this meeting I think Barney was wiped out and ready for his afternoon nap. Grow Barney grow so you can keep up with Little Jack.

Spring Is Here

Spring Is Here

Jack and I sat in the family room last night like these two little ceramic birds in the photo above and watched lots and lots of basketball. I'm sorry to see Ohio State lose but the Tennessee team was awesome and fearless. Duke is looking really good these days too. And now we have Michigan State beating Northern Iowa. March Madness is a lot like spring blossoms. There is so much happening all at once that it is hard to stay on top of it all.
The Kentucky vs. West Virginia should be a great game to watch this weekend. And what if Butler ends up going home to Indianapolis to play in the Final Four. They would definitely have a hometown advantage.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ohio State Plays Tonight

Sports News Flash: Ohio State Plays Tonight
Ohio State plays Friday night. Kentucky won last night. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Big Orange of New York lost last night. Don't you just love March Madness. Gives even the political pundits on all the political TV stations something to talk about besides Obama and health care reform.
Like someone stated we need to move America to the center. What better way than thru everyone rallying around colleges and basketball playoff games.
Give me a T.
Give me an E.
Give me an A.
Give me a M.
What we got?
Thought for the Day: Move America to the Center Court.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dayton Flyers in Final Four of NIT Tournament

Dayton Flyers in Final Four of NIT Tournament in New York City
While the NCAA basketball tournament is going on there is more March Madness in that the NIT (National Invitational Tournament) is also taking place and the Flyers of The University of Dayton have made it to the final four.
The NIT always makes me think of my mother's brother's family. Uncle Shorty (Lawrence Dapore) was a rabid Flyers fan. Several of his children attended the University of Dayton and Uncle Shorty's one daughter was a cheerleader in the early '60s for the Dayton Flyers. My family would get a kick out of watching the Flyers play on local television and getting to see Uncle Shorty's daughter, Judy Dapore, cheer for the UD team.

It Is Thursday. Time For More March Madness

It is Thursday. Time For More March Madness
And I don't mean the March Madness connected to putting coffins on people's lawns or putting gun targets on maps. I mean basketball. A great and exciting American sport and pasttime. I wonder how Ohio State, Kentucky and Duke will do this weekend.

The Virtual Wall and James Pleiman

The Virtual Wall and James Pleiman

The Wall for the names of Vietman dead is in Washington D.C. and Jack and I have been there to see on the wall the name of my high school classmate James Pleiman. Did you know that there is a virtual wall that you can access on the internet for anyone who died in Vietnam? Below is the address for James Pleiman's place on the Virtual Wall. Please take a moment and take a look at this airman's life and how he died in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1966---less than four years after he graduated from Russia Local High School.

Virtual Wall for James Pleiman:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Bookclub Book

Teresa hosted our March bookclub meeting and the book she chose was Doug Wead's All The President's Children. Teresa invited Doug Wead and his wife to join our reading group since Doug and his wife live just down the road from our golf community in another gold community on route #15 called Dominion Valley.

Although the book covers all the children of all the presidents we spent the night mainly discussing the Bushes since Dour Wead worked for the Bushes in the White House. I personally came away from the meeting with the impression that President George W. Bush started the Iraq War in 2003 to avenge Saddam Hussein's family for the reported death threats against the Bush family. One interesting fact that Doug Wead told us is that when Udday Hussein's castle in Iraq was taken over by American forces they found a "porno room" complete with posters of the Bush twins pictures hanging on the wall. Very interesting. Huh.

Doug Wead has written a second book on the parents of the U.S. presidents and plans to write and publish a third book on the siblings of the U.S. presidents. Should be interesting historical reading.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jeanine's Condo Is Getting Built

Jeanine hopes to close on her brand new condo before the end of June. Jack and I are very excited for our daughter. This is a beautiful condo and it will be a good commute for Jeanine's job in Washington D.C. I just love the all stainless steel kitchen with maple cabinets and granite countertops!

Jeanine's condo will be on the top two floors right behind the red truck.
Since it will be on the top two floors it will be a much bigger unit. Aroud 2200 sq. feet which is more than some single family homes.

I will post more pics of the model condo later. This pic was taken in early February. Now look below to see how the condo is coming along.

Brick is being added and the windows and doors are now in the building. This is the front. In the back will be the garage.

Route 66 and The Taylor Swift Tour

Last Wednesday Jack had his NARFE meeting in Manassas and as we headed east on interstate #66 we kept passing all these beer trucks making deliveries for the St. Paddy's Day green beer drinking crowd. Jack commented that it seems like the beer trucks should have been making their deliveries earlier in the week because some people start drinking green beer on St. Paddy's Day as soon as they finish their morning coffee!

So as we are rolling along we see one then two very colorful semis pass us. Wow, those are fancy beer trucks. Wait! Those aren't fancy beer trucks. Those are entertainer Taylor Swift's concert tour trucks. The trucks were heading northeast from concerts given in Texas to concerts in Philadelphia, PA and then on to concerts in Charlottesville, VA. After those concerts the semis were taking Taylor Swift's equipment to Detroit, Michigan. You go girl!

Here's a website on Taylor Swift:

The girl is cute and she can sing!

St. Paddy's Day and Green Beer Memories

Last Wednesday Jack and I quit working early in the yard to go out to our local pub called The Lion and Bull for a St. Paddy's Day meal and for some green beer. Whenever I think of green beer I think of being a student at Miami University and going uptown to the bars where if you were 21 you could order a green beer. And if you were under 21 you were out of luck at the bars. And yes, on Good Friday these same bars would serve red beer for the sheding of Jesus's blood.
I could understand the green beer but the red beer just grossed me out. I wonder if the bars in Oxford, Ohio at Miami University still have this red beer tradition.
Jack's Irish meal: corn beef and cabbage and sauteed potatoes. Joann's Irish meal not pictured but it was: bangers and mash with gravy plus some very very green steamed broccoli.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My World Tuesday = President Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

My World Tuesday = President Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
Thomas Jefferson designed Monticello atop a hill overlooking the Charlottesville, VA area.

He later designed the original grounds of the University of Virginia and could view it

from atop his mountain estate at Monticello.

Above is the visitor's guide we received in 2006 when we showed our

good friends Sandra and Gene Jefferson's home.

It was a warm fall day and the leaves had turned so it was a perfect day to visit Monticello.

The main house has dependencies extending on each side.

You can stand on the roof of the long dependencies and see the University of Virginia in the distance.

And here is where President Thomas Jefferson is buried.

Relatives that can prove they are closely related can also be buried here.

The vegetable gardens at Monticello.

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

I Love The Month of March!

I Love The Month of March!
March ushers in the spring season after cruel, cruel winter.
March means that my baby girl, Jeanine, gets to celebrate her birthday on March 4'th.
March days are usually warmer.
March days are longer, especially after we "spring forward" at the beginning of the month.
March means spring vacations for study weary college students and seniors who head to
Florida when they are almost guaranteed nice weather south of Tallahassee.
March means get out in the yard on the warm days and clean out the flower beds of dirt, leaves,
and dead perennial "tops". (Jack and I did this for for four days last week. Mon.-Thurs.)
March means stay inside on the rainy days that will green the lawn and plan your flowerbeds
for this year. (I'm so anxious to make some needed changes to the flowerbeds. I love spring!)
March means that all the birds are back and going nuts singing songs to attract mates and
build nests. It sure is fun to watch these lusty fellows. Better than watching teens preparing
for the spring prom!
March has St. Patrick's Day when we can drink green beer and pretend we are Irish even if
we are not Irish.
March means the first flowers will bloom. (I have crocus in bloom now and my daffodils are
getting ready to bloom before the end of the month.)
March means the first flowering trees will bloom. (Our pear trees have buds that are getting
big and fuzzy. Same with the saucer magnolia trees by our swing.)
March means the roses are showing signs of life and need to be pruned pronto.
March means April is just around the corner and April is one of the most lovely months of
the year with the azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom.
March is the best month to adopt a puppy says The Washington Post. Our Jeanine
just did this this past Saturday.
Welcome to the family, Barney!
March is the time to plan all those roadtrips you want to take this spring, summer
and fall.
March is the time to think about who is going to the prom, who is graduating and who
is getting married this year.
March means Jack and I need to prepare for Jeanine's wedding this fall. Yipee!
March means March Madness in college basketball from the field of 64 to the sweet sixteen
to the final four!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My World Tuesday = Historic Woodlawn Plantation

My World Tuesday = Historic Woodlawn Plantation
Across The Road From George Washington's Mount Vernon
Folks, when you go to Mount Vernon enjoy the tour of the home, grounds, and museum.
My favorite part of the tour is the view of the Potomac River from the home.
But listen up.
When you leave Mount Vernon go across highway #1 to Woodlawn Plantation
which also belonged to George Washington.
It is so beautiful.
It is a gorgeous red brick Georgian style home.
In 1983 I made sure my niece Diane Gariety Siegrist and her husband Ron Siegrist got to see
this beautiful mansion. Diane and Ron are pictured here with my two daughters Jennifer and Jeanine.
One time Jack and I and the girls were going down highway #1 and we noticed a gov't helicopter
had landed at Woodlawn and we noticed a slew of cars parked on the lawn. The next day we read in the Washington Post that President Ronald Reagan had given his wife Nancy a birthday partyat Woodlawn Plantation. I believe Nancy Reagan's birthday is in July so this garden party must have taken place in July.
Now go visit some more My World Memes by clicking here:

Friday, March 5, 2010

This Week's Hawk Encounter

If you read yesterday's blog you know that this hawk was determined to get to the little bird in the holly bush. I've posted two videos below. If you look at the holly bush you can see the little bird
moving inside the bush while the hawk is trying to figure out how to get to it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Skywatch Friday = 30 Minute Hawk Encounter

Skywatch Friday = 30 Minute Hawk Encounter
Our skies look like this but the big excitement for this week was my 30 minute hawk encounter. Look below.

From my breakfast room window I saw this hawk acting like a jumping jack. Literally. He would
land on the holly bush and sit and look and listen. Then he would fly straight up in the air faster
than a speeding bullet and land on the other side of the bush. I watched him for about twenty
minutes from the breakfast room window doing these wild sky dives and then I moved here to watch him from my dining room window. I even had time to make two videos that I might upload

Here he has again landed on the holly bush. He was determined to get the little bird that was hiding inside the holly bush.

He did take a few breaks. Probably to consider whether to continue on with this elusive bird hunt. In the meantime up on the main roof of the house I could hear a dozen little birds like finches and wrens and chicadees chirping beat the band. I think they were chirping encouragement and instructions to the poor little bird stuck hiding in the holly bush. And I guess they thought that they were safe from the hawk since they were high up on the roof gutter.
Isn't nature fascinating!
Now go visit some other Skywatch memes by just clicking here:

Cancer Question #4

Some folks have asked what I have learned now that I'm over half way thru with my chemo treatments. I haven't written about my leukemia since last fall so here are four things I have learned.
I can hardly believe the cost of my treatments. So very expensive! For instance, each month at the end of my chemo treatment week I get a neulasta shot to help build up my good white
blood cells. Guess how much this shot costs. Nearly $8000! No, you read that correctly.
Not $80. Not $800. Nearly $8000! Can you believe this? What the heck is in the neulasta? Must be gold, platinum or diamonds.Before I'm done with my chemo I will have had 6 neulasta shots. 6 x $8000 = $48,000. Gee, for $48,000 I could have bought two new cars!
This is what the hematology lab charges us. Since I have my husband's federal health insurance plus my medicare the hematology lab accepts the going rate that the insurance company will allow. However, those poor folks without insurance coverage would be charged the whole amount because they don't have anyone negotiating a fair rate for them. So what would you do?

My total costs for each month runs to around $28,000. I think if you didn't have insurance, you
would be tempted to just go without treatment so that you didn't leave a financial burden for
your relatives to pay long after your death. And I'm sure people have done this in the past.
There are popular cancers that get lots of attention in our nation and then there are other
cancers that are not so popular. I like to think that the unpopular cancers are like the
stepchildren who don't get much attention from the stepmother. Probably the most popular
cancer is breast cancer and it gets the most awareness across the nation. Is that because we Americans are obsessed with breasts? Maybe. Or it because so many women get breast cancer?
But the reason given by a very young seven year breast cancer survivor is that women who get breast cancer are on the average young. This breast cancer survivor's daughter did a term paper in which she learned and wrote that women who have breast cancer are still young so when they finish their treatments they get involved in promoting breast cancer awareness.

In contrast folks who develop lung cancer after many years of smoking or being exposed to
bad fumes in the air are usually older. So even if they beat the disease, they are not young
and fit enough to get involved in promoting lung cancer awareness. And then there are the poor folks who have anal cancer. I think some people blame the victims for this disease---like it had
something to do with their sex lives. Ditto for colon cancer.
Doing chemo gets tougher with each successive treatment. For me the first month was the very easiest to endure. My fourth treatment in February really left me wiped out. So I didn't mind all the snow keeping me stuck at home. It was just a great time to sit on the couch and get caught up on a lot of reading.
Many cancer patients lose all their hair from the chemo treatments. My hair has thinned
but I still have enough that I don't need to don a wig. My problem is covering my grey
since hair dyes will not take with the chemo treatments. So I have resorted to using an eyelash brush in a color that matches my own hair color. Oh, how vain I am. LOL!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Name The Citizen of Your State......

Name the Citizen of Your State Who Is A Big Jerk

North Caroline: John Edwards

South Carolina: Gov. Sanford

Kentucky: Sen. Jim Bunning

New York: Triple Tie: Eliot Spitzer, Gov. Patterson and Rep. Rangle

Alaska: Sarah Palin

Virginia: Tie: George Allen and Chuck Robb

Ohio: ???????

Florida: Tiger Woods
Washington DC: Marion Barry
Question: Why blame Washington? The citizens of each state and the district put these people into office. So the citizens need to blame themselves for electing jerks.
And what does this have to do with Tiger Woods? Well, Tiger said at his press conference that he felt entitled to break his marriage vows. These politicians felt that they were above the law and common decency They felt that they were entitled too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My World Tuesday = Another Historic VA Home

James and Dolly Madison lived in this duplex home with his parents. James Madison had his good friend and fellow Virginia Thomas Jefferson, our third president design this home. The home eventually was sold after the presidency of James Madison and Dolly moved to Washington D.C. to live.

This is how the house looked in 2008 when we toured the mansion for about the fourth time. We keep going back to see how the historic renovation is going. As you can see the house is now down to the original bricks that have been cleaned and repaired in places. And the home has a colonial style roof instead of a tin roof. Now look below to see how James Madison's Montpelier looked back in 2003 before the renovation.

What a difference! Over time this home had been sold and resold until it eventually came in the early 20'th century into the hands of a woman who was a DuPont. She is the one who added two huge wings to the mansion and had the home stuccoed over and then painted pink. We toured this home a few years earlier when the home had just been opened for tourists after a lengthy drawn out feud among the heirs who did not want to follow the stated guidelines of the deceased DuPont who stated that the home should be rightfully restored to days of James and Dolly Madison.
What I remember most about the house on that very first visit is that the DuPont furnishings in the foyer, dining room and living room had not yet been removed to be given to the heirs. There were some beautiful Persian carpets and a huge mahogany Chippendale breakfront with all the crystal and china still on display.
The wildest room in the house was the DuPont hunt room that looked like a 1950's era black, white and red room with dreadful looking 50's modern furniture. This room had been used for fox hunt social functions and it displayed photos and trophies of the DuPont horses that had won many awards on the fox hunt circuit. The decor made Elvis's Graceland look good!

Sidenote: James and Dolly Madison like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington owned slaves.
When the Madison's had garden parties the small children of the black slaves were required to go out on the big lawn with buckets to pick up all the droppings of the sheep. Can you imagine that!

Oh, we also learned from the tour guide that the reason there were sheep roaming the great lawn was that they were used to "mow" the great lawn by eating the grass.

Here is a Greek style temple on the grounds leading up to the home.

And here is a beautiful summertime view of the formal gardens of the home with the mountains
in the background.

I took this photo of Jack with all the white hydrangeas and shrub roses in bloom.

Hope you enjoyed this week's tour of a historic Virgina home. I'll be showing you another great Virginia estate next week. Now go visit some other My World Tuesday memes by just clicking here:
One last comment if you have time. The Washington Post ran an article this week about the old train station that the DuPonts had built for their servants on the grounds of Montpelier. Jack and I have been in this train station. Before the recent renovation and the new visitor's center was built one had to park at the defunct train station, buy your visitor's pass inside the station and then hop aboard a bus to go up to the home.
Now the defunct train station has been restored to its early pre-civil rights era of the twentieth century which means that when you tour the train station you will see how it looked when it was actually two stations in one: one for whites and one for colored people. If you take the tour you will notice two doors: one labeled whites and one labeled coloreds. Then after you enter you will notice that the white station waiting room was larger and spacious while the colored station was smaller and narrower. Also the restrooms for the colored were in the basement and I think the news article said that you had to exit the building to use them. But there was only one train attendant so there was a cubicle where the two waiting rooms intersected and the train attendant helped both groups. Of course, the whites were always waited on first and the coloreds had to wait till there was a free moment for the train attendant.