Archive for June, 2009



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Week in Review-part 4

One of the downsides of being empty-nesters whose children live out of state is that Mother’s and Father’s Day are rather lonely. I just didn’t feel like doing anything special last month so it was just another day for us. But yesterday, we decided to take a drive in the new car and put 200 miles on it exploring Virginia’s Northern Neck.

irvington virginia - Google Maps

We drove through West Point, over to Urbanna and Irvington, through Warsaw and Tappahannock and back home.

Vacationing at the “Rivah” is very popular for Richmonders and I’ve been wanting to see what the attraction is. The Rappahannock River separates the Northern Neck from the Middle Peninsula, so boating and fishing are the recreations of choice up there. We get a magazine every once in a while showcasing really high-end real estate in this area and boy are those homes gorgeous.

Here are some pictures from our really beautiful Father’s Day joyride. The Tides Inn has beautiful grounds:

The Hope and Glory Inn looks very quaint. One of my co-workers spent her honeymoon here.

We didn’t go in but only stopped to take a picture of this winery and its unique artwork. [UPDATE: I have since learned that this winery is owned by a former Martin Agency employee.]

From there we drove through cornfields on our way back home.

But of course, we had to stop for dinner:
Mmmm, Famous Dave’s barbecue!


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Week in Review-part 3

I don’t know what it is about this spring that is attracting destructive wildlife to my garden.

This is a hosta with bite marks in it. We have been planting all our hostas in “vole cages” on the advice of a nurseryman, but this year for the first time the creatures are attacking the plants from above as well as below-ground. See that vole hole? We decided it’s time to fight fire with fire, so we got some mousetraps, baited one with peanut butter and put it under a shoebox, covering this hole.


The next morning I went out to see if we got one and was shocked to find the trap missing. The shoebox had not moved and the trap was too big to drag into that hole. I looked all around the area and never did find it. I had visions of some creature running around with a trap hanging from its tongue.

We set another trap last night and this morning it was still in place under the box. When I got home tonight, the trap was no longer under the box, but I did find it a few feet away, sprung and baitless.

I’ve lost a rose, daylily and favorite hosta to voles this year. I didn’t know they ate roses or daylilies as I’ve never had a problem up to now. I guess I’m going to have to plant everything in cages, grrr.


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Week in Review-part 2

in line at the apple store

Friday after work John and I went to the Apple store to buy new iPhones. What else can you do when standing in line for over an hour? Take your own picture LOL.

Since John reserved his phone ahead of time, he got to bring one home. I didn’t have a reservation and they had run out of the model I wanted. So I went home empty-handed.

However, they got some more Saturday morning so we ran right over there and I got one too.

Between the phones and the new car, we’ve really done our part to help the economy this week.


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Week in Review-part 1

It’s been a busy week here at Casa de Kaspar.

On Monday, my cousins arrived from California for a short visit. They had a horrible travel experience as their flight from Philadelphia to Richmond was cancelled in the morning (they were to arrive here at 9am) and they weren’t able to get another flight out until 4pm.


They got here around dinnertime, just a few minutes before we had to leave to pick up the new quiltmobile:


Tuesday, the cousins visited Monticello and Wednesday, Colonial Williamsburg. It is a small world, you know? Deanne’s childhood friend from Downey, California lives less than 5 miles from us. We met Robbie at Gelati Celesti Tuesday night for ice cream.

We said goodbye to them on Thursday morning as they headed to Washington DC for the next leg of their trip. Last I heard, they were enjoying it so much, they decided to extend their stay a few days. They should be in Connecticut today to drop off Allison for her 6 week internship at a school for the deaf, and then they’ll be home tomorrow. We enjoyed their visit, they’re a very nice family.


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Ahhhh capella

This is the coolest thing I’ve seen/heard all week. Perpetuum Jazzile.


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Crawfish boil

Oh dear, it seems I forgot to blog about the crawfish boil our neighbors invited us to a few weekends ago. We had never been to one before so I immediately said yes. How many opportunities do you get to try mudbugs?


Laura and Rodney (our neighbors) and their friends (2 other couples) put on this elaborate party. My first clue that this was going to be BIG came the day before when I saw these being delivered:


When was the last time you threw a party with porta-potties? I thought so.

They had 150 pounds of live crawfish shipped overnight from Louisiana. They came in two really large containers that I didn’t get a good picture of, but here is a batch of them prior to being put in the pot:


Playing with food wasn’t just for the kids:


They had two big pots set up to boil.


And the cooked crawdads were dumped on this table along with corn on the cob and red potatoes. We all gathered around and started peeling the shells off the tails, popping the meat into our mouths and then grabbing another one. They aren’t real big so you have to eat a ton of them.


Some other pics:


The only other person we knew at the party was our neighbor Ceelie, but John met someone who worked on another floor during his Bank of America days. He knew the guy’s name but had never met him before.

And a good time was had by all!


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birds nest


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It was finally Relay for Life weekend. 

But first, John and I had to spend a good portion of Saturday car shopping, because the insurance company did total my car. There are so many reasons why I don’t want to have to get another car and only one in the plus column (because I have to).

One big reason is my parking space at work. It’s in a garage under our building and the ceiling above my space slopes down to only 54 inches at the wall. So clearance is tight. It’s a buddy space, meaning I share it with my friend Sue (of the Panamanian molas fame) and we park end-to-end. So if I could guarantee that she would always be the first car in, I wouldn’t have any concerns. But since that isn’t practical, I have to consider a vehicle that will fit nose-in to the wall (I’m not one to back into my space like Sue and the majority of Richmonders. I just don’t get it, plus I wouldn’t be any good at it).

So early Saturday morning, John and I drove down to the office and measured the space. Then we went to the Honda dealer and looked at the CR-V. While the back seats don’t fold flat which would be my preference, they do fold out of the way, giving about 4 lineal feet of storage space to the tailgate. It has a sunroof and an input jack so that I can plug in my iPod, those are my requirements. The salesman let us drive it back to the office to see if it will fit in the space, which it does just fine, so we didn’t need to make that first trip. But who knew you can take a brand-new vehicle out for a joy ride without the salesman having to ride in the back seat and go farther than just around the block? Times have changed since our last new-car purchase.

We went next door to the Hyundai dealer to look at Tucsons and Santa Fes. The Tucson is out right off the bat because you can’t get one with a sunroof. I think I would love a Santa Fe if it would fit into that spot. It’s too tall. So we didn’t spend much time at this dealership.

Then we went down to the Toyota dealer and looked at the RAV-4. We asked for the salesman who sold us the Corolla, yep he’s still there, and if anything, he’s goofier than I remember from 2003. I don’t know if I can stand him long enough to negotiate a purchase if that’s what we decide to do. He’s a nice guy, but he just doesn’t stop joking around. Anyway, he let us take the RAV to the office, too. As expected, it fits in the space as easily as the CR-V.

That’s all the time we could spend and at that point, I think I like the Honda a little better than the Toyota. The only thing I didn’t like about the CR-V is that the seat didn’t feel like it molded very well to my back. The RAV has more comfortable seats and 6 lineal feet of storage, but there were other minor little things about it that I didn’t like, such as the sunroof, when open and driving on the interstate, had a much louder sound to it than the Honda’s. They both drive very nicely, although the RAV sounded creaky when driving over the cobblestones near the office. 

So I changed into my workout pants and RFL t-shirt, packed the rental car with a folding chair, jacket, my pillow and a blanket, stopped at Pizza Hut and picked up my dinner and away I went to Lee-Davis High in Mechanicsville for RFL.

There were a lot of teams there from around the Richmond area, with tents set up for the overnight and a lot of those party-tent things. There was a tailgate-like atmosphere as people lugged in grills and folding tables and food, food, food. There was music playing on the PA system and bands were setting up.



My company created the “More Birthdays” ad campaign currently running for American Cancer Society, and this sign marks our team area. There were birthday party hats to wear while walking.

The luminaria ceremony was very moving, as they turned off the stadium lights, lit the candles and read all the names from the luminaria bags (probably a thousand if I could guess). Here are the bags donated by my sponsors:


I walked the track from 8-9pm, 11-12pm and 2-3am. I did about 7 miles. My legs were hurting by the last circuit so I didn’t make my usual 3 miles. At 3, I decided to try and get a couple hours sleep in the car, but I wasn’t comfortable and couldn’t stop coughing when laying down. It was cool and very damp that night, and I was wondering if I was going to have an asthma attack or get pneumonia. So the coughing was better if I sat up, but I can’t sleep sitting up. I gave up trying before 5 and went back to my group, prepared to walk one last time from 5-6. But what I found was that those who were still there were packing up to leave. Once the PA system shut down at 11pm, there was little to no communication from the organizers so no one knew what the “closing ceremonies” were going to be like and who was going to feed us breakfast, if indeed someone was going to do that. There were still a few people walking the track but as you might expect the crowds had thinned out considerably by that time.

So I got home just before 6 and happily crawled into bed. At 8:15 Joey decided he’d had enough of me sleeping so he came in and barked until I got up. Thanks, dog.

Sunday we were back to thinking about car shopping. A lot (most?) car dealers in Richmond are closed on Sundays, but we did go to Carmax, the used car dealer, and didn’t really see anything I liked. We went back home and scoured the internet, emailing for rate quotes on Corollas and Civics. I learned that Toyota does not put sunroofs in Corollas as standard equipment 😦 but Honda does put them in one of the Civic models. 

It’s stressful having to shop for a car when you have to and don’t want to (and I only have the rental car until Friday).


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