February 23, 2009

One more week!

Only one week from today and we will be heading back to the mountains! I can hardly wait. It is sad to say goodbye to everyone in Va Beach, but boy are we missing our little shanty. I just wish Virginia wasn't such a ridiculously long state. If only the beach was just an hour or two away, rather than six! Do we really need all that middle section anyway? ;)

The only part about coming home that I'm not looking forward to is the packing part. Naturally, we have managed to accumulate more stuff (they have such good thrift stores here!). Joe has been picking up cast-off tennis shoes at the gym and now has a collection that will necessitate building a second shanty to house them. And of course there's all of the stuff of Joe's that has been hiding in his mom's attic all these years. Thankfully, he did a pretty merciless job of purging. I had to jump in and save a few momentos to prove to our kids someday that he even had a childhood.

I was hoping that after 3 months of having easy gym access and my own personal trainer that I would return home with some muscle to show for it. No such luck. Of course, I haven't really been serious about it, but it still would be nice. Joe, on the other hand, is all beefed up and ready for some heavy farm work! He has perfected some yoga moves that I wouldn't have believed humanly possible. I keep wanting to take some pictures, but he's always doing yoga really early in the morning when I'm still asleep. :)

February 17, 2009

Wow, time has flown by. Only a week and a half to go before we head back to the mountains. We are semi-frantically trying to fit in a bunch of last-minute social engagements to see everyone one last time before we go. Other than that, not much is going on. The past three months have turned out different than I was expecting. I had every intention of having a job and making money...but it seems it wasn't meant to be. People often ask me what I am doing with myself. My main focus has been providing my husband and beagle with a quality of life that not many husbands, and even fewer beagles, get to enjoy. (Foxy's quality of life has remained about the same if not decreased slightly due to the lack of a cat door) As if that wasn't enough, I've even managed to become a Master Chef of Friendship Bread. Yes, it's true. I have just pulled from the oven what may be the best batch yet -- Pineapple Banana Apple Oatmeal Raisin Friendship Bread!!

My friend (and gracious surrogate goat mom) Robyn gave me my starter mix as an infant quite a few months ago. Since then, the starter has matured and become such a part of our family that I am thinking of giving it a name. The traditional friendship bread recipe and starter care regimen could be the script of a bad soap opera, full of junk food and constantly spawning illigetimate babies to be pushed off on unsuspecting bystanders. I am always testing the limits, though, and have successfully converted the recipe to be completely oil free, sugar free, pudding-mix free, and often even egg free with no delitirious effects. Quite the contrary. We have been on a steady diet of two loaves a week, and usually run out before the next scheduled baking. (At least half of one loaf is gone within minutes of coming out of the oven due to all the "quality control taste testing" that goes on.) Thank goodness for all of the applesauce, blackberries and jam we canned last summer! Lest you think it is possible to have too much applesauce (I won't name names, but you know who you are), it is not. I now see we will be needing 3-4 times as much next year.

Due to concerns of over-population (we do live in a one-room shanty you know), I have put our starter on birth control so it is not producing 3 babies a week. This does kinda kill the whole "friendship" aspect of it, but if after reading this you become inspired to adopt a starter of your own, let me know. I will be happy to do some selective friendship bread breeding to be given to good homes only. References are required. :)

February 09, 2009

Sailing memories

The past couple of days in Va Beach have been warm and sunny. The perfect weather for sharing a few "blast from the past" photos of our sailing adventures that we unearthed on Joe's old computer.

Joe, the bearded sailor

Joe was mugged by a monkey in the Canary Islands

Hey, you can't sail around the Caribbean for two months and NOT get cornrows! :)

At one point the boat went far off course and Joe ended up on the moon. Actually , I think this is the Canary Islands?

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

February 07, 2009

My trip back home to see the family began in ice and ended in snow. Yay!! Finally some snow!

I first spent a couple of days in Blacksburg to do some work and boost group morale at Phil Co. :) Lynn and I mostly got to hang out late at night due to her afternoon piano lessons. Then it was a quick breeze through in Pilot to see the goats (who are looking super fat, furry and happy), friends and the shanty (which is looking safe and sound but misses us) on my way to Jenny's house. I had a lot of fun hanging out with Jenny and the kids. I think this was the first time that it really hit me that my little sister is a mother of three who's been married for almost 7 years now and runs a business and pays more bills in a week than I'd like to shake a stick at in a year! And she's pretty awesome on top of all of that. I didn't get to spend as much time with my parents, grandparents and little brother as I would like due to the fact that they are all currently under quarantine and suspected of carrying the bubonic plaque. ;)

A summarized list of the highlights of my adventures would include:
- A Mary Kay party that I had an allergic reaction to
- A Dr. Who party with no allergic reactions involved
- A Superbowl party at the infirmary
- A flooded basement
- A screaming pink marshmallow
- An earthquake that may or may not have been a dream (it seemed very real, but I'm the only one with any recollection of it)

Here are some pictures

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or rather, the beach I was being missed. Joe and Lisa were handling my absence pretty well, but apparently Wilson couldn't handle it and went off the deep end. He ate three books, the fringe off of a rug and part of a bag of flour while attempting to deal with his angst at being "abandoned". He hasn't had a seizure in a long time, however, and there is a theory that he has switched from internalizing his stress to externalizing it. Try explaining that to the Virginia Beach Public Library! All's well that ends well though. I'm back in the pack and peace reigns once again. :)