Friday, December 31, 2010

In Which I Am Resolute

Three New Year's Resolutions

1. Read Moby Dick.
2. Get a job.
3. Learn what an f-stop is and how to use it well.

That's all I ask of 2011.  You won't begrudge me that, universe, will you?

painting is by the incredible Kelly Reemtsen.

Music, Music, Music

I've always been the sort of person who listens to the kind of music I like but doesn't purport to know anything about music in general.  But last year, I started doing periodic posts about the music I was listening to over on the other blog, and reviewing them, I realized I've listened to a lot of new music this year.  Something about the combination of walking dogs for a living and then moving to the middle of nowhere, I don't know.  So, here's your penultimate list of 2010: my top albums.  Note: they weren't all released in 2010, they're just what I listened to the most.

Twelve Albums I Enjoyed the Heck Out of in 2010:
1. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes - Up From Below
2. A Fine Frenzy - Bomb in a Birdcage
3. Noah and the Whale - The First Days of Spring
4. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Greatest Hits
5. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
6. Hans Zimmer - Sherlock Holmes Soundtrack
7. MC Frontalot - Zero Day
8. Edith Piaf (not my album, but close)
9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
10. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
11. Sleigh Bells - Treats
12. She & Him - Volume Two

Clearly most of these are older, because I am, as always, late to the game.  The list is in no particular order, but my number one album is definitely Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More.  Number one single was far and away "F**k You," by Cee Lo Green.  Nothing holds a candle.  Honorable mentions go to The Black Keys and the Avett Brothers, which I adore but only discovered, like, yesterday (this is an exaggeration, but only slight).  I am also really, really enjoying Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger's Acoustic Sessions.  They will all probably be on next year's list.  If there is a list next year.

I think this years biggest discovery was how much I love film scores.  I've bought one or two in the past, but realized this year just how much of a treasure trove they are.  They, along with video game scores (many of which are exquisite, they really are), are about the closest my generation comes to embracing new classical music, I think.  Hans Zimmer is my favourite film composer by far, but I also love Dario Marianelli.

One more list until this year is done.  It's going to be a short list, and it's all about resolutions.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Story of Santa's Beer

This is a story I posted on my other blog last Christmas, and it remains the quintessential Williams family Christmas tradition, so I'm posting it here this year.  Hope you enjoy it!
ours for the taking
I find that Christmas is the best time to reminisce. It's so full of traditions that there's always something to look back on. So, indulge me, will you, as I stroll a bit down memory lane.

I have to say that my absolute favourite thing to look back on are the years we still left cookies out for Santa. In the beginning, we left him cookies and milk, as most kids do. However, after a few years of disappointment upon discovering that Santa had completely ignored the milk, my dad suggested an alternative. All the other kids leave Santa milk, he explained, but you know what Santa really wants on his busiest night of the year? A nice, cold beer. And it made a strange sort of sense. My dad loved beer, so why wouldn't Santa? Plus, if we were the only ones leaving it for him, he'd probably like our house more than the others, which couldn't be a bad thing, either.

And so it came to pass that every Christmas Eve, the Williams children carefully placed out where he was sure to see them a plate of homemade cookies and a nice, cold beer. And you know what? Santa didn't always eat the cookies, but damn if he didn't down that beer every year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snapshots of December

I have been scolded for neglecting this blog.  And Jamie shamed me by posting a whole bunch of December-in-Marlinton photos last night.

(Random side note: before moving away, Jamie kept a blog about her home town, Los Angeles Love Affair, and it's my new favourite thing online.  Whether you've been there before or, like me, have never even been to the state, it's a great read.)

I haven't done much wandering this month, as it has been cold, and snowy, and COLD, but I do have a few to share.  They are completely unedited, just snapshots.
The lovely signs we made for the Opera House float in the Christmas Parade.
The float ahead of us in the parade.  It was from the Gesundheit Institute, and you can't see them well, but it had great, flapping wings.  Very cool.
The woman of the hour, Opera House VISTA Jamie, treated her carolers to homemade cocoa generously laced with Peppermint Schnapps.
Then it snowed!  This is from the first snow, which you can tell because the tops of my shoes are still visible.  We got a good foot of the stuff a week later.
Vista looks quite lovely in the snow.

So, we've been keeping warm.  I baked cookies for six hours the other day, but that's pretty much the most physically exerting thing I've done in weeks.  Mostly, Vista and I are staying bundled up inside, watching movies, writing short stories, and listening to music.  I've been loving "Treats" by Sleigh Bells, "Doolittle" by the Pixies, and "Oracular Spectacular" by MGMT.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cinema Overdose: Christmas List

Noir City
I'll be spending Christmas in a place where there are movie theatres.  Not just one, or even two, but several.  I feel like spreading myself out and catching shows in multiple places, just because I can.  The AMC, Cinema Arts, E Street, Bethesda, Old Town.

Movies I Want To See (In No Particular Order)
1. Wild Target
2. Black Swan
3. The King's Speech
4. Tron Legacy
5. True Grit
6. Tangled (yes, again)
7. Waiting for Superman
8. And anything else I can think of, really.  (The Tempest, maybe?)

So.  Freaking.  Excited.

photo by La Tur

Muppets for Christmas

In the house I grew up in, nothing said "Christmas" like the muppets.  Thanks to Jimmy Fallon, not only do I know that's still true, I also know that they still make me laugh like a loon.  This little video has put me in the Christmas spirit more than anything else in days.

Also, sidenote: Jimmy Fallon was absolutely my least favourite member of the SNL cast in recent years, but I adore his post-SNL career.  He's freaking adorable.  That is all.

If you're subscribed to both my blogs, you're going to get this twice, cause it is getting cross-posted.  I love it that much.  Merry merry!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sunday Mysteries

My roommates had a party on Saturday night.  I was involved, but only peripherally, in the sense that I live in the house and was therefore present.  Don't get me wrong, I know and like the people who were gathered, and I like the concept of a tacky Christmas sweater party.  But the house is really small, and I get nervous when there are lots of people in my little house.

I've mentioned that I'm a bumbling mass of neuroses before, haven't I?  Because--hoo boy!--am I ever.  So I was at the party, but in and out.  I've been pouring my soul into writing short stories lately (which I kind of want to share here because I'm ridiculously proud of them, but probably won't because the subject matter is SUPER DUPER NERDY), and spent most of the evening curled around my laptop, tapping away.  I drove the last of the guests home around 3 am, collapsed in bed, and naturally assumed that life would return to normal, all of my mental ducks back in a row, on the morrow.  Instead, I was confronted with a series of mysterious events over the course of the day.  They went something like this:

1. Why are there people shouting in the kitchen at 8:30 on a Sunday morning?
2. Why are there people shouting in the kitchen at 10:00 on a Sunday morning?
3. Who unplugged the mini-fridge?
4. Where'd this gigantic amp come from?
5. Why is my bathroom hand towel in the kitchen?
6. Why are people shouting in the kitchen at 1:00 on a Sunday afternoon?
7. What was that crash in the next room?
8. Why does the shower smell overwhelmingly like feet?
9. Why is the yellow ducky bath mat on the far side of the living room?
10. Why is there a fellow playing a bass guitar in the middle of the kitchen?
11. Why are all of the DVDs on the rack turned around backwards?
12. Why does the dog have bits of broken candy cane stuck in her paws?

So many mysteries.  Most were solved over the course of the day, though I still haven't figured out where that amp came from.  OR why it took precedence over the perishables in the fridge.

Anyways, on the upside, I got a full three chapters written over the course of the party and the next day, and feel very good about that.  Later this week, probably: posts about snow and Christmas.  In the meantime, here are recent posts from my other blog, about Christmas music and how to buy gifts for nerds.  Enjoy!

If anyone is at all interested in reading my super nerdy thing, let me know and I will send you the link.  But, a warning: it's super nerdy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

VISTAs in Profile: Roxy Todd

While at a VISTA meeting last week, I decided I would attempt to use this blog for VISTA-related good, and thus begins what will hopefully be a series of little profiles about my fellow Pocahontas County VISTAs.  Why?  Because the whole lot is pretty awesome, in my very biased opinion.  To start the series, this is Roxy, a VISTA based in near(ish)by Elkins, and the newest addition to our little crew.
Home town: Smyrna, TN
Background: She studied creative writing and education at Warren Wilson College and is a massage therapist
Why here? Roxy was trying to escape "the plastic world of suburbia."  She loves places with roots, and her boyfriend is originally from West Virginia.
How she's going to save the world: “I learned long ago not to worry as much about saving the world as much as to enjoy understanding and writing about it.”
Why she's awesome: This is Roxy's second term as a VISTA; she moved here from Missoula, Montana. In Montana, she worked with high schoolers on a project encouraging them to ride bikes, skateboard, walk, and take public transportation.
Project: Rebirth of the Federal Writers' Project
How you can help: Roxy wants to find out what people like to show their friends and family when they come to visit; what they're proud of about where they live. Her focus is on the Route 219 corridor through Randolph and Pocahontas Counties, and she's looking for what about the history of the area appeals to the people who live here.

If you have stories or other material you'd like to contribute to Roxy's project, feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail me at periwinkled (at) gmail (dot) com.  You don't have to be from here originally to contribute, either!  The project's just getting started, so any contributions would be very welcome!

Thanks for letting me pester you with questions, Roxy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Yes, I Am A Natural Blonde

20 Things I Forget
1. Where I put my glasses
2. To eat breakfast
3. To eat lunch
4. To eat dinner
5. That I am a human, and thus need food to survive
6. Where I put my checkbook
7. Where I put my camera upload cords
8. To pay bills until the day they are due
9. To put my clean laundry away
10. That I do not own a snow scraper
11. Or gloves
12. Or snow boots
13. That last week's leftovers are still in the fridge
14. That a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper is not actually a meal
15. That my car has almost no gas
16. To return library books
17. That I have an advent calendar
18. Oh my gosh, I have an advent calendar!
19. I have so many days of chocolate pieces to catch up on!
20. That I'm still writing this list

True story: I started the list and then forgot about it.  I remembered approximately the same time I recalled the advent calendar.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Which I Look Forward, A Little Bit

This is my 100th post on this here little blog, so I thought I be introspective in it.  Or something.  I'm about halfway through my 6th month as a VISTA in Pocahontas County.  I decided to do this because it would shake my life up, and if there was one thing my life needed, it was shaking up.  Well, mission accomplished.  Consider me shaken, and maybe a little stirred, too.

I've learned a bunch about myself in my 6 1/2 months, and one of the most important has been that, as much as I like this little place, I cannot stay here.  I've always felt I'd enjoy living in a smaller place than the vastness that is Northern Virginia, but it seems I need someplace a tad larger than this one.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if I ended up at the beach (Vista looks so pretty on it!), but there are things to consider.  So I'm considering.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dog Meets Beach

Update: still sleep-deprived, still stupid.  Broke out the advent calendar this morning, so breakfast was taken care of--woo chocolate!  Here are two more doggie videos, this time consisting of considerably more doggies.  A 200% increase in doggies.
My aunt has four dogs, all boys.  This video is a bit lengthy (I'd just gotten up and was still stumbling around), but you get to see all of the pups.  Oh, and notice my aunt's porch set-up.  Upon arriving at the house, Vista ran full speed into both the screened and the plate glass doors, poor thing.  In the case of the sliding glass door, she slammed her head into it three time in quick succession.  Took her a minute to figure the thing out.
I spent a week at the beach this summer, but Vista did not, so this was her first introduction to the ocean. She figured out quickly that it was water, but not terribly tasty water.  She could not, for the life of her, figure out why it wouldn't stay still.  Eventually, she gave up and chased birds up and down the beach.

She's been in canine withdrawal since we got home.  Her only company has been a dog belonging to one of the apprentices at the shop, who is very shy and doesn't want to be friends with Vista.  It's all very tragic, the life of a dog.

Anyway, Happy December, all!  I am allowing myself to listen to Christmas music today.  It's even snowing outside.  Now if I could just retake my place among the human race.  I know I left it around here somewhere...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Post-Turkey Stupid Disorder

I think the turkey broke my brain.  I'm completely serious.  It's as if I went to North Carolina a reasonably intelligent person able to walk and talk and feed herself and have returned with the brain of a sea cucumber.  The winter dark has completely baffled my body clock, and it wants to sleep all the time, except for when I want it to, at night.  So I've had a 4 am night and a 3 am night this week.  The following mornings have been hellish, to say the least.

I am hoping to move up from my current enchinoderm-level to something better fitting of a homo sapien, but it's looking to be a slow process.  So far I have forgotten to eat for so long that I only realized it when I tried to determine why I felt so ill not once, but twice.  Lists to the rescue!

Nine Activities Which Apparently Amuse A Sea Cucumber
1. Watching Iron Man 2 (Twice.  Okay, twice and change--I totally watch the kiss over and over.)
2. Watching movies with Will Arnett in them (unintentionally, both times, but not unhappily)
3. Watching movies featuring ladies wearing aprons and nothing else (this has also happened twice, also unintentionally)
4. Listening to the Tangled soundtrack on repeat.
5. Searching out sweet and sappy videos on youtube.
6. Receiving surprise globes in the mail from awesome folks.
7. Dusting, vacuuming, and mopping at 11 pm.
8. Getting smacked in the face by my dog first thing in the morning (once by her paw, once by her face)
9. Having dreams in which my postman beats people up and then gets a concussion.

Ah, and now it's time to sprinkle some leftover turkey on Vista's dinner and restart the old Tangled soundtrack.  Come on, brain.  Come back to me.

Vista and Gigi

I promised you doggie videos, and never let it be said I don't keep my promises.  This is very obviously not at the beach, and was actually taken the day I left to drive down.  I went to Lewisburg first, where I met up with Long-Lost Cousin Lilly and her dog Gigi.  We drove over to the Greenbrier State Forest, picked a trail, and--after seeing how deserted the whole place was--let our beasties off their leashes.  Gigi's about twice Vista's size (though they're moving so fast you can hardly tell), which means that she can actually match her for speed.  That is a rare, rare thing indeed.  If you can make out my comment at then end, I can assure you that she did sleep all the way to the beach and it was fantastic.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cinema Overdose

I've always been a fan of seeing movies in the theatre, but I never would have called myself an addict.  I dated a cinephile, a card-carrying member of the AFI, and knew that I'd never be anywhere near his level.  That is, before I moved to a town without a cinema and adopted a dog with such severe separation anxiety that driving the hour to the nearest theatre is just too cruel to everyone involved.

So one of my main goals while I was in North Carolina with my family for Thanksgiving was to see as many movies as I could.  I achieved that goal, with aplomb, I think.  By the fourth straight day (Thanksgiving Day, in fact), my mother turned to me and said "Do you think they'll give us little plaques with our names for our seats now?"  I replied that it wouldn't be economical, as we'd sat in four different auditoriums.  And so, without further ado, here is my list of movies.

Four Movies I Dragged My Family To Over Thanksgiving

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
I saw this with my mother, who's read all the books save the one on which the movie was actually based, and my aunt, who's read none of the books save the very first.  Personally, I thought it was everything I could have wanted.  Yes, it follows the plot of the first half of the book very closely (which I had recalled mostly for the "Ron's a stupid git" and "Bellatrix is especially nutso"parts), but also feels like its own entity.  You wish, of course, that you could spend more time with the smaller characters--the Remus/Tonks almost-announcement in the very beginning especially bothered me--but realize, of course, that no matter how literary you make a film, it is still a film, with film constraints.  Overall: very, very satisfied.  Can't wait for Part 2, and can't wait for Cowboys and Aliens, the trailer of which played before the film.

2. Unstoppable
This was the choice of my mom and aunt, and I was unenthusiastic about it.  I ended up going along for the ride, however, and I am so very glad I did.  Unstoppable is a fantastic, gripping, on-the-edge-of-your-seat film and I'd see it again in a second if I wasn't sure my heart would give out under the stress.  The best part about it, I think, wasn't that it was a film about a runaway train.  It was that it was a film about a runaway train that felt real, like you were actually watching it unfold in your daily life.  It doesn't feel over-the-top and Hollywood.  It's just a great film.

3. Megamind
My nine-year-old cousin Skylar was my date for this show, and we both got a kick out of it.  It wasn't one I'd wanted to see initially, but we got it at the end of its run--it was replaced by Tangled the next day--and in 3D, no less!  Funny, sweet, and all-around a solidly enjoyable offering from Dreamworks.  I have to say, though, that although I find Tina Fey hilarious, her voice is just very recognizable as "Tina Fey," which made it impossible to completely suspend my disbelief.  Everytime Roxanne spoke, I remembered that this was a movie, and Tina Fey was an actress, and the whole thing lost some of its sparkle.  Unfortunately.  After the film, Skylar insisted on holding on to her glasses, and then picked up another pair anyway the next day when we came back to see...

4. Tangled
This is the one I super wanted to see, because I am a girly, girly, girly girl.  And also am sort of in love with Zachary Levi.  So Mom, Skylar, and I headed over to the first show after Thanksgiving dinner.  The theatre was pretty full of kids, but we had a blast anyway.  The story was fun, the music was great, and the animation--as always--was perfect.  I think the Princess and the Frog is still my favourite of Disney's more recent offerings, but this was still a lot of fun!  See it in 3D if you can.


Two Movies I Did Not See Despite Good Intentions

1. Skyline - Alien movies = weakness.  Really did want to catch this, but ran out of momentum and cash.
2. True Grit - Westerns = bigger weakness (now do you see why I'm so excited about Cowboys and Aliens?).  Really, really wanted to catch this.  Intended to go alone on Friday, but then the sky opened up and none of us felt like going anywhere.  Ran Vista on the beach after the rain stopped, but that was as far as I got.  Hopefully it might still be playing when I get home for Christmas.

Whew!  Does that make up for missing a week?  Tune in next time for lots and lots of doggie videos (I mean it--Thanksgiving came with five in addition to Vista)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Enabling My Hoarding Tendencies

Eleven Things I Collect On Purpose
1. Vintage globes
2. Smooth beach stones
3. Records to play on my broken record player
4. Antique illustrated story books
5. Very small snow globes
6. Snails and whales (duh), but mostly whales
7. Dia de los Muertos art
8. Art in general
9. Photobooth strips
10. Pressed pennies
11. Vintage Pyrex bowls

Six Things I Collect On Accident
1. Festive holiday socks (gifts from my mother--I've come to love them)
2. Paperback novels (I don't mean to collect them, I just buy them and then...never get rid of them)
3. Old, well-loved comforters (the oldest was bought when I was 2)
4. Decorative pillows (people give them to me, I guess?  Anyways, I have them)
5. Gigantic art books (hazard of being an art historian--can be stacked for use as a small table)
6. Striped shirts (can't seem to help myself)

Five Things I Would Collect Were I A Millionaire
1. More art
2. Dogs
3. Pottery
4. Video game consoles
5. Art Nouveau furniture

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In Which I List My Most Favourite Apps

Seven iPod Apps I Use Everyday (Or Thereabouts)

1. Crosswords - It costs $10, but you get multiple new puzzles everyday.  Worth it to a word nerd like me.
2. Unblock Me - This was the first app I ever downloaded, and I still play it.  Classic slider puzzles.
3. Kindle - My mom and I live in separate states, but thanks to this guy, we share a Kindle.  It's actually handier here than the physical Kindle, which uses Sprint to sync wirelessly, and Sprint has no reception in the county's quiet zone.  And yes, I read whole books on that little screen.
4. Weather - I could probably wax poetic about the weather app, but I won't.  It's the first thing I check in the morning.  It's accurate and tells me the weather.  Came with the ipod.
5. Nonograms - These are the only number-based puzzles I enjoy.  I can only do the simplest 5x5 grids, but I play the free version, so that's alright.
6. Scopa Lite - Scopa is a fantastic Italian card game and I love it.  I like that this app applauds when I win a game, though I dislike that it also boos when I lose.  I've got the free version now, but will likely end up buying the pro, as it has more options.
7. Echofon - My preferred Twitter app.  I find it enormously intuitive to use.

I love my iPod Touch, in case you couldn't tell.  :)

Photo is by Renz Costillas.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Two Instances In Which Vista is Very Silly

Told you the first list was short.

1. Please forgive the shaky-cam aspect of this.  She was spinning, I was spinning.  There was a lot of spinning.

2. Telling Vista to "Go run!" usually gets the sort of response seen in the video above.  But not always.

This list is dedicated to Laura, who loves my fuzzy little freak far more than she loves me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lists Forever

These two dudes took over my notebook while at the conference. Kinda like'm.

I apologize for the dearth in posts of late (do you feel there's been a dearth?  I feel like there's been a dearth).  I've been uninspired for some reason, although I've been posting up a storm of awesome things over on my other blog.  Because I am uninspired, and because I love making lists, I have decided I am going to make lists until I feel inspired again.  This is partially inspired by Andrea, who is the queen of lists and never seems to want for inspiration, but is also because a million little lists enter my mind all day, and sometimes I write them down.

It occurs to me in retrospect that I could have made a LIST about why I'm going to make lots of lists, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

I'll start off slow tomorrow and go until I feel super creative or something exciting happens in my life, whichever one comes first.  Or maybe I'll never stop.  Lists can be addictive little things.

ps: The whale is a thing I drew and has nothing to do with anything.  His name is Ted.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Highboy in Progress

One of my projects at Pocahontas Woods has been getting a new website up (notice I'm not linking to our current website here, it's that awful).  Since I personally am not a designer of graphics or for web, that has lately meant waiting on our actual, qualified web designer.

I'm not very good at waiting.

I've been looking forward to getting to post about the projects in the woodshop on the new website, but since I can't at the moment, I'm going to post here.  Also, I'm a little bored.  With the waiting.
Our college student, Jerrill Vance (previously glimpsed here), has been putting his heart and soul into this, his final project.  It's a highboy cum secretary desk.  A high secretary.  And it's lovely.
 Clearly, it's currently in two parts, but you can get an idea of what the end result will look like.  The wood is curly cherry with walnut accents.
The best part, in my opinion, is that the desk locks.  There's not nearly enough locking furniture on the market these days, if you ask me.
Here it is with the drop-front open.  Actually, I lied when I said the best part was the locking.  The locking is pretty awesome, but the real best part is that it's going to have a secret compartment.  That's right, this piece of furniture is already cooler than every other piece of furniture you've ever owned and it's still in two pieces.  And guess what?  I know where the compartment's going to be.

And I'm not telling.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sweet Little Hell Beast

Hello, internet.  Have you been longing for a list?  I bet you have!

My little dude and I spend most of our time together, but while I was traveling, I was away from Vista for over a week!  Insanity!  She kept busy at my parents' house, though, mostly by eating.  Here is a list of things she ate (that we know about anyways):

1 lb of Halloween candy
1 loaf of zucchini bread
1 chicken breast
1 bag of yogurt-covered raisins
1 dried apricot (abandoned the rest, presumably not to her taste)
1 stick of butter
1 package of graham crackers (taken out of the ceramic, lidded cookie jar)
Untold amount of dog treats (also removed from a closed jar)

From this we learned that height is no object (she leaped on and walked all over the kitchen counters and a large desk), and neither are things with lids.  She has yet to figure out cabinets, however, or any other kind of door.  You haven't beaten me yet, dog!

For those who are concerned, I am well aware of the types of foods which are poisonous to dogs, when to call poison control, and even what to do should I need to make whatever she ate, erm, reappear.  She's got a cast iron stomach though, I think.  Only the candy put her off her food, and nothing made her sick.

After I returned from Denver, my father confided in me that my mom was concerned that, having finally rid themselves of my brother's dog, they'd end up with mine.  Haha!  I wouldn't do that to you, Mom.  I wouldn't do that to my worst enemy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween at Home

After two days of driving, and half a day of flying, by the time I got back to DC Sunday night, I was not feeling great.  That's an understatement, actually.  I was feeling like some sort of un-Kelly, less than me and not quite human.  And there was no way I was climbing into another car, no sir.  So, with my boss's ok, I stayed in VA through Halloween.  I had doctors to visit, kittens to cuddle, and cookies to bake.
Everything in my mom's house gets decorated.  Even the peoples.
By the actual night, everyone had abandoned ship, leaving only Vista, the cat, and I to distribute Halloween candy.  Since Vista herself had consumed all of the candy my mom had bought, I restocked, emptying the bags into a gigantic orange basket.  Halloween at my parents' is notorious inconsistant.  Sometime we get mobbed and run out of candy in minutes, and other years we see nary a trick-or-treater, leaving us with tons of leftover candy.  So I was worried.
But I guess I did well--here's all that was left!

But now Vista and I are back in town.  We may have missed Halloween, but we're ready for the Day of the Dead!

In Which I Am Alive

So, we did it.  We drove from DC to Denver, crossing nine states, in two days.  To simplify things, we camped in Illinois, sleeping a few hours, and then getting up and chugging back along.  On Sunday, the day after we arrived in Denver, I had a flight back, so we spent the day poking around nearby Boulder.  Here's what Denver and back in 3 days looks like:
Our most important cargo.  She held up well, despite being bored out of her mind 99% of the trip.
We hit Wheeling, WV around lunch time on the first day, and having sampled some of the wares while at the conference, I encouraged Casey to stop so we could get crepes at Later Alligator.  We both had savory crepes, and Casey also had a cup of unbelievably fantastic cheddar and beer soup.  I am not a soup person, but this stuff was incredible.
Here is Indianapolis, taken with Casey's iPhone.
Watching the sun set on the first day.  This was, um, Illinois, probably.
Saturday morning was gray and dreary.  The sun didn't really peek through until around nine, so it felt like we drove through the night, even though we'd slept.
Kansas City from Casey's iPhone.  Wish I could have snapped the Royal's stadium, but I missed it.  It's impressive.
After KC, Kansas was pretty uninteresting.  It was a tie beween Kansas and Ohio for Least Interesting State to See from Interstate 70.
Kansas did have wind farms, though.  I'd never seen one before, but was driving, so Casey snapped these.  I love the little old windmill in the foreground--such a contrast!
Those black dots are cows.  For scale.  They are HUGE!
The point at which I understood why they call it "Big Sky Country."  The clouds go on, and on, and on.
We made it to Denver!  Sadly, there are no photos until we made it to this bookshop that night.  I think I had largely ceased to be human at that point.  The Tattered Cover is HUGE, by the way, and carried new and used books.  I grabbed a couple to read on the plane.
Casey and Lani on a pretty chilly summit in Boulder.
And there we all are.  There was a rescue climber training thing setting up to our right, which is what Lani was so interested in.

There you have it!  To Denver and back, and still alive.  Casey made his way the rest of the way to Jackson Hole the next day, where he was promptly caught in a blizzard.  Fortunately Lani loves the snow, so she's pretty happy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

To Denver And Back In 3 Days

After graduating from UVA in May, my little brother moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Because he was working at a ranch and living in a bunkhouse, he left most of his things behind, including his dog.  Now, he's ready to move those things out, but the DC-to-WY drive is a doozie.
So I'm coming along.

We'll only be going so far as Denver together.  We leave today, and hope to get there in two days, with some time so I can see the city (I've never been, but Case spent a year in school there) before I fly back to Washington and Casey heads to Jackson.  So that's MY weekend, anyway.

Sadly, this means the end of Leilani's time with our family.  She's become an integral part of the crew in Vienna, and saying goodbye won't be easy.  I'm glad to have two extra days with her, but it's comforting to know that they'll be fine on their own.  They make a good team.
All photos taken by Marley Withrow.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wheeling Part 2

One of the best parts about the Create WV conference was that they took us out and about in Wheeling.  In fact, the entire afternoon on the first day was given over to it.  We had box lunches in the Capitol Theatre, which is, to put it simply, stunning.
Then the various tracks took tours of various parts of the city.  My group happened to be a walking tour, which I loved, since it meant I could dart all over snapping photos while still hearing the talk.  I discovered that Wheeling is a city of beautiful and desolate facades.  I would have loved to see it in its heyday, at the end of the the last century.
I don't know the history of this building (I believe it was a bank), but if anyone else does, I'd love to hear it!  I was not expecting to find something so gorgeously art nouveau in West Virginia.
This is inside the Orrick Global Operations Center.  It's the old Wheeling stamp factory, and the process of turning into what it is today--from renovating the building to convincing Orrick that locating their offices here was a great idea--was a massive community effort.  The building is seriously amazing.
A flower shop near the Centre Market.  Didn't venture in.
We did venture into The Paradox Book Store.
We were pretty excited about it.
I'm still sort of mad at myself that I neglected to buy this.
The next day, after the morning sessions and lunch, Jamie and I hit the road.  We stopped in town to snap more photos, many of which were of doors.  They'll be showing up on my other blog in the next week.
These were all in the little Victorian district.  Really, really pretty stuff.

We headed directly home, aside from a stop for groceries.  It was uneventful until we saw the BEAR.  It was a first for both of us, and we reacted accordingly.  All in all, a really great trip!  I definitely recommend Create WV, Wheeling, and traveling with Jamie.