Thursday, May 27, 2010

On Grounds at UVA

I am finally uploading my photos from last weekend, when my sister graduated with her PhD. I have a valid reason for the delay (basically we've been scrubbing, painting, & prepping the new house before we move in THIS WEEKEND - I've painted and washed floors so much my hands ache).

Anyway! Back to the trip to Virginia. UVA is a lovely campus, and the weather was great. First, I finished my dress and was pleased with it. The only picture I have though, has the dress covered by a cardigan (at the Lawn ceremony). Also it's a horribly unflattering picture (I'm short, but I'm not 3 feet tall). But...well...I promised, so here you go.

Also, my legs are so pale they're pink. Nice. Sorry about that - hope your retinas survived alright.

There were many more fashionable people there than me. For example:

This guy's robes were fuschia - hard to see in this picture. I stalked him til I could get a picture of him. Rachel met him later and asked where he went to school, and he said he graduated from Harvard, but that his robes had faded over the years from their original crimson. Personally, I've never seen crimson fade to fuschia, but hey. That's his story, and I'm not gonna argue with him.

Even the columns on the Rotunda were dressed! Actually they were covered because they're deteriorating, and the powers that be wanted to make sure no one got smooshed if a piece fell off.

Also? Did you notice this guy?


The first part of the graduation was Rachel's hooding ceremony, when the doctoral candidates for her division got the long hoods that hang down their backs. It was a really nice ceremony, but I forgot my camera, so the only pics I had were on my phone. And they were blurry. Big time.

The next day, the big university-wide ceremony took place on the main quad on campus (called the Lawn). There were a few people there.

The president of the university spoke, and it was a really nice ceremony. We were worried it was going to rain because it was extremely overcast to begin with. We sat under a tree, just in case it rained. Well, it was a nice thing, being under that tree, because the sun came out and it got HOT. And we all know that I don't need to get any more tan on my legs. Heh.

After the big ceremony, they had individual ceremonies for each division or school within the university. We went to the education graduation, since that's where Rachel studied. She actually got her diploma at that point. Well, actually not. They gave her a blank piece of paper so she could keep her real diploma uncurled.

The guy to the right in this picture is her friend and coworker, Adam, whose family wasn't able to attend. He gave us his tickets so we could all go to the lawn ceremony, so we were his stand-in family for the weekend. :) We cheered for him.

We didn't have a lot of time to do much of anything except attend university events, and play on the Wii Fit. Heh. That was fun. Thankfully nobody took any pictures. Because really? It's hard to maintain your dignity when you're flapping your arms like a bird, trying to keep your little computer person floating through the air in her chicken suit.

We did take time to eat though. Of course.

Note: we did not eat any John Deere fruit snacks. I just thought they were funny. We did drink Richard Childress Nascar wine though, with a checkered flag on the label. Stay classy!

After the final bit of graduation formalities, we went out to eat at one of Rachel's favorite restaurants, a South African restaurant. It was SO good. I had steak pie:

It did not survive. Because it was delicious.

They had lovely artwork in the restaurant too. This mask kept catching my eye.

So that was our big weekend in Virginia! I have to say, it's been a long time since I've been on a university campus, and it was so nice to be in those environs again. I also have to admit that when Rachel let me try on her robe and hood, I was jealous. She said it's called "hood envy." I currently have no plans to go back to school, because frankly I don't even know what I'd study this time around!

But I really did like that hood.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On Your Mark...

So the dress is finished, except it's not ironed. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to iron it just to fold it up and have to iron it again once we get to Virginia. I like it though, and will take pictures once it's ironed and put on!

The rest of the bags are packed too, except for my knitting bag, which needs a deposit of new projects. I figure we'll be sitting a lot during all the graduation stuff, or while waiting for the graduation stuff to start, or sitting in traffic trying to get out of the parking lot after the graduation stuff. Ample knitting time!

Hope the kitties don't miss me too bad. They'll be able to pester Noel all weekend (except when he's at work, since they don't have their own cell phones - no calling to beg for treats!).

And yes, the camera is packed, so there will be plenty of photos!

See ya on Monday!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is There A Doctor In The House?

This weekend I'll be going on a road trip to Charlottesville, VA to see my sister graduate! She just finished her doctorate.

Congratulations, Dr. Miller! :)

So since this is a big occasion and all, I need a new dress. Haven't had a new frock in a long time. (Don't you love that word? Frock. FROCK. It looks weird the more you type it). And since I'm on a self-imposed fabric probation, I decided to see if I could make a dress out of what I already had. It's not finished yet, but it's about halfway done at this point (not bad, considering I started it today!). I'll finish it up tomorrow. Want a sneak peek? Here's the fabric:

Fabulous, no? And also good for hiding sweat, which will probably be an issue, seeing as it's supposed to be warm and rainy (ie. Muggy Panamanian Jungle) this weekend.

Speaking of fashion and other such Important Things, I have a pair of shoes that are adorable - they're maryjane Danskos, which are super-cute, but I can't really wear them without socks. When it's pants weather, that's no problem, but when it's skirt weather....well, skirt + socks + maryjane shoes = dorky woman who wants to look like a prepubescent school girl. Not good.
Thus far, I've relegated these shoes to the fall and winter seasons for this reason. I thought about it a bit, if only I could find some cute socks that were like little footies, I could wear the shoes with skirts. If only I could find some little socks.....if only...........

Ding. (That's the sound my brain makes after about 4 weeks of staring the obvious in the face.)
I am a knitter. Who enjoys making socks. Huh. Unfortunately, there are no patterns for these little footie socks, so I made one up. I'll be debuting them this weekend as well. Hope they work!

Here's a picture of the finished one (the other is still on the needles). Please note Poe couldn't bear not being in these pictures.

One of my dear readers, Cima, has requested a play-by-play on the veggie garden. I promise I will do this! My wonderful Aunt Betty, who lives down the road from the house we're renting, has a huge garden and promised that we could use some of it. It's been really rainy here though, so we'll have to wait til the ground isn't so soggy. I promise that we'll have lots of pictures though! I love growing things from seeds. Some people say it's the hard way, but there's something so magical about this little pebble, placed in the ground and watered, and life comes out of it. Such a miracle, but something that's so easy to take for granted.

In other news, an article I wrote finally got posted online. This one is more geared toward the ladies, since it's about my reduction surgery:
(Of course, if any of you guys are interested about breast reduction surgeries, read away. But I promise, it's really not as titillating as you think it might be. Pun intended.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Our new life changes are really exciting! We'll be moving in at the beginning of June, and both of us have been mentally decorating the little house pretty much non-stop. We even got some flower seeds to plant by the porch. :)

We are not allowed to buy any new furniture, except for the porch. Because we have enough chairs. Seriously.

However! I have to admit that I've had some weird mixed feelings about all of this. So it's List Time!

1. It's really cool to have more space. The cats will be thrilled.

2. I can have a sewing room again. This is great, because frankly, it's a pain in the rear to pull out all my sewing stuff, dust it off, do my sewing, and then put all the stuff away again. The pulling out and putting up ends up taking about 15 minutes each time. Which isn't a lot of time, I know, but as Noel and I discussed early on in our venture on the road, you have to be really deliberate to live in an RV. If I'm gonna sew, it's gonna take me 15 - 20 minutes longer than it normally would. There's no quick work onover lunch break, you know?

3. We can have a garden. I will be taking pictures of all of this. We bought veggie seeds today too - cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes (even though I don't eat them except spaghetti sauce & ketchup), onions, green peppers, and for dessert, cantaloupe! Also some herbs, because fresh herbs are just so lovely, aren't they? A previous tenant of the house had planted mint and sage, which are still growing like crazy by the house, but I love basil and rosemary. And we got catnip for the cats. Heh. Because that's all we need. Two hyper destructo-kitties.

It's all very exciting. I guess my inital fears came out of the idea that we would be giving up on our ideas of traveling, which really scared me. The novelty of living in an RV and traveling for work is so fun, and we hadn't had our fill of it yet. But it's not permanent, and I keep reminding myself of that.

In the meantime, I can sew whenever I want!

Monday, May 10, 2010

News! And Geese!

So! I apologize for neglecting the poor blog recently. We've had some new developments that have been taking up a lot of our time.

First, let me say we're having a nice time here, and the weather is a very pleasant change from what we've normally dealt with both in Texas and Savannah. Today, for example, was chilly - the temperatures didn't get out of the 60s! Granted it's a cold front coming through, but it's better than a Savannah cold front of 87. ha.

We visited a great Mexican restaurant in the cute town of Spruce Pine, NC last week. We went there a few months ago and it was SOOOO good, we had to go back. Seriously, this was one of the best Mexican restaurants we've ever visited. So we went back, and Noel ordered the Burrito Tejano (with steak, chicken, and shrimp). This is the biggest burrito I've ever seen:

I had two smaller steak burritos. YUM. Also, I was proud of myself because I actually ordered my food in Spanish. No reason why I get nervous speaking it (I only studied it for SEVEN YEARS) but I hesitate sometimes. Anyway, we will be back.

Saturday was my Mom's birthday, and she hosted a party at her house for 40 friends & families (not including herself!). We had bbq sandwiches and all the fixin's, including a big bowl of my banana pudding. She had made 5 roasts worth of bbq pork - there were no survivors. If it's one thing my family can do, it's eat. We had a great time though, visiting with everyone and joking around. Noel did very well dealing with all the new faces, and charmed the whole group. :)

My mom has a pretty garden by her house and I took some pictures of it before the party started:

And here's your weekly Baby Goose update: they're still really cute.

There's one pair of geese who feel a need to repopulate the entire riverbank, apparently, because we counted 14 chicks of various ages waddling around with them:

And here's a closeup! Hee hee. I love them.

And now for the big news! We've decided for several reasons (weather, Noel's kids, furniture molding in our storage unit, etc.) that we're going to rent a house here for a little while. That way, since we figured we'd be here for longer than a few months (since this is a longer-term job for Noel) we can spread out a bit!

We've been looking at multiple homes in the area for a reasonable rate (and that will accept our two fuzzy compatriots!) for several weeks now. A lot of the homes around here are either skanky or extremely expensive. Luckily enough my Aunt Betty knew of a nice house right across the road from her. The funny thing is, we've seen this house before and thought it was adorable. We had actually said to each other "why can't THAT little house be for rent?" Ha! Funny how the universe works.

I went through it today, and thought it was so cute. So I went ahead and took it. Noel and I are going back to look over it tonight, and we'll start planning to move in on June 1. We're excited. Why wouldn't we be? How cute is this?:

I can have a garden! And we can have a fire ring outside (the fireplace inside has been converted for a heater). It has a big porch that wraps around one side, a cute little attic room, 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, etc. The yard is so nice, and it's a nice quiet area. And it's only a few miles off the interstate, so it's convenient for Noel to get to work. And I can have a sewing room again. We're excited. :)

Also? The cats aren't going to know what to do with themselves, with that much room to run around! We may have to try to break them in slowly, keeping them shut into the bedroom for a day or two so they don't freak out so much.

We're also glad to finally get able to get our stuff out of storage. We've been very worried about our furniture, books, and clothes in a storage unit in Savannah, because HELLO - humidity. Even though there's supposed to be climate control in this unit, it's not really easy to extract the moisture out of the air when it's 96 degrees out with 90% humidity. There was mold on some of the items after only a few months of being in the unit (we checked) but we had no choice but to leave our stuff there. We figure we may have to reupholster quite a bit of our furniture, but that could be a fun project too!

Anyway, that's our news. Exciting stuff!

Now, before you all ask: NO, we are not getting rid of the RV. We aren't planning to stay here forever. We had talked about longer term jobs when we first got underway - originally we thought we'd be in 1 place for 4 to 6 months, instead of 2 weeks at a time! So this is just a little bit of a change, a slightly more extended time in one spot, but still not permanent.
And while I had some initial misgivings about being back in the place I was raised, simply because I crave novelty, there is novelty to be had - we're in a different town (Mars Hill), and it's close enough to new towns like Spruce Pine, Hot Springs, and Burnsville, places that I'm not familiar with. So it should still be an interesting spot. My sister had a unique way of looking at it too: I may be close to where I grew up, but I'm not the same person I was when I was here before. So in a way, it is new - I have new interests and will see things in a different way.
Plus I get to try to grow some cucumbers. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No Flooding!

Hey! We've had several people contact us out of concern for the Tennessee floods. Thank you for your concerns!

Thankfully we're nowhere near the flooding. The river by our campground rose maybe a few inches, but that was it. No problems at all.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Noel and I went to my mom's for dinner on Friday night - grilled steaks. Very tasty!

On Saturday, after perusing some pretty pathetic yard sales ("3 family yard sale" and it had 1 piece of furniture and a box of books? HUH?) we decided to go out for the evening and play some pool!

We found a little pool hall in Asheville that ended up being a private club, but we joined for a whopping $2 membership fee. This is my kind of club. :) We played a handful of games and then wanted to check out a "celtic" pub in Asheville, Jack of the Wood. I had only been there once before, years ago, and frankly it was disappointing. The cover charge was outrageous (they had a band playing, so that was the justification), it was crowded, and we finally found a table, waited for a while for a waitress to show, only to be told "Oh sorry! The kitchen just closed!" Sigh. The band was great, I'll give them that.

Anyway, we stayed for a little while, then decided to take a walk around the downtown area. For those of you who've never been to Asheville, the downtown has been reborn over the past 10 years or so into a yuppie/rich hippie/artiste haven (the smug cloud over the city is now almost as bad as Boulder's, but I digress). We were walking along through the area with all these new shops and restaurants, when we heard a strange sound:

People yelling. And Whump Whump Whump sounds. We look up the road, only to see what can best be described as a mob: at least 30-40 people, all dressed in black, were marching down the middle of the street, yelling and throwing things at the storefronts along the way. They filled the street from side to side, and were clearly out of control. We realized this was not a scene we wanted to get involved with, so we walked quickly toward the car. They were behind us, but were walking the same way we were going. Thankfully we had no problem staying ahead of them, so we got in the car and drove to the only place where we could go to calm ourselves down: Waffle House.

Anyway, when we got up this morning, we checked the news to see what the deal was with these people. Apparently they were doing some kind of protest for socialism and worker's rights. So they destroyed the storefronts of people trying to make a living. And random people's cars. Um...this helps your cause how, exactly?

Stupidity should be painful.