Saturday, January 26, 2013

Love the World

I listened to an interview today on NPR between Terry Gross and author, illustrator, Maurice Sendak.  What a touching, meaningful piece.  Mr. Sendak talks about how he has grown to appreciate old age and what a blessing it is to finally have the time to read the books, to appreciate people, to love nature and the beauty around us.  If you have a chance to listen to it, I believe you will be as moved as I was to hear the emotion during this poignant interview.  Here's a link to NPR's compilation of interviews remembering Mr. Sendak.  He died on May 8, 2012.  He's best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are.

Remembering Maurice Sendak

In a way, I think he is right when he talks about getting older and looking out on nature.  While I've always loved nature and everything that goes with it, I think I appreciate it much more at my age than when I was younger.  My youth was spent in raising children and all that goes along with that.  Those were busy, busy times.  And though I still go to work every day, I have more quiet time to think and reflect on the beauty around me.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't see something wonderful, a hawk circling on the air currents above me, a fox standing in an open field, freshly fallen snow glinting in the moonlight.  There is beauty all around us.  We just have to take the time to slow down and really see what's always right there in front of us, to see extraordinary beauty in ordinary things.

Monday, January 21, 2013

NC Mountains

Last October, I took a weekend trip with my son and his wife to see the fall foliage in Asheville, NC.  I'd never been there, and we had such a great time.  We stayed at a little hotel called Country Inn, and it was very nice.  Their customer service was excellent.  We just happened to be there during a meteor shower and wanted to drive onto the parkway to watch.  The great folks let us have several blankets to take with us since it was pretty chilly up there.  The first night was a bust because it was very foggy on the mountain.  But the second night was perfect, no wind, chilly but clear skies.  We had to wait for Orion to rise, but it was well worth it.  I saw some amazing shooting stars and if you're a stargazer like me, there's no better place to see the night sky than on top of the mountains with no smog, fog, or city lights to hinder your sight.  It was amazing.

We also stopped off to see the Biltmore while we were there.  What an absolutely amazing place.  For you Downton Abby fans, it reminded me of Downtown.  The servants quarters had bells hanging from the wall for the master and mistress to ring down if they needed anything.  The Biltmore had its own generator for electricity, and indoor bowling alley, an indoor pool, and several wings for guests.  The original artwork hanging on the walls is amazing.  

Can you even imagine living in a house this size?

 Some of the gounds at the Biltmore.  They have many gift shops and they even have a winery, where we stopped for a tasting.  Some of the family still live on the estate in small homes.

As you can tell from the photos, it was a magical place.  If you want to do extra activities besides touring the home, they have horseback riding, skeet shooting, touring by jeep, just to name a few.  

I also got the chance to meet up with some friends of mine that I know from a dog discussion group, people I've known for years but never met in person.  We met for dinner and had a great time laughing and talking like we'd spent every weekend together for the last 20 years.  I know I've said this before, but if you have a chance to meet an online friend, go for it.  I've never been disappointed.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Welcome Back

It's been a long time since I posted to my blog.  Life just got away with me, and I found myself with little time.  I'm still here in Virginia, still living in my tiny apartment with my cat and my bird and working in downtown DC.  

I took a few trips last year, one to my beloved Charlottesville in September; a weekend trip to Asheville, NC, in the fall in October; and most recently a trip to NYC with my daughter and two of my grandkids.  I had a wonderful time everywhere I visited.  

Here are some of my photos from Charlottesville.  I just love it there.  It's one my absolute, favorite places in the whole world; and I never get tired of going there.  It has everything, history, beauty, wonderful restaurants, great wineries.  

River behind Wintergreen Winery

One of the overlooks from the Parkway

My dream home (actually a farm on the parkway)

A huge sunflower farm on the parkway

Who doesn't love a donkey?  

The gorgeous blue ridge

We drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Charlottesville and felt the temperature drop. The weekend started out misty and wet but ended up sunny and sparkling.  We took the time to stop at an overlook at look out over a gap in the mountains.  Coming around a bend, we saw a huge field of sunflowers that seemed to go on forever.  I'm telling you, I wanted to stay right there and never come back.  The nice part is that it's so close, less than two hours down the road to everything I love.