Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall Fun and joining the Rescue Squad

A trip to the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad on Sunday afternoon
proved that we have a fireman in the making. The boots almost fitted
him, a few more bowls porridge and some of Mommy's home cooked meals,
and voila!! I got a private tour of the building by a very senior
rescue guy who seemed very interested in my newly acquired cleavage.
The tour took forever, especially walking through the new sleeping
quarters...great bunk beds!! Steve, in the meantime wondered around
with my fake Prada
handbag draped around his shoulders...no wonder he got funny looks when
he asked about joining the Volunteer Squad...especially with his gay
Finley loved it and got to sit in all the vehicles
pushing every possible button. Unfortunately we had to say no to the
delicious brown,beeny gunk that was later identified as Brunswick Stew,
since we were on the way to have Irish Stew with Katie, Joel, Sam, and
Oliver. I managed to capture some great moments of the boys, having a
truly awesome time playing in the leaves.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


After preparing him well for the annual festival of all things spooky and scary, Finley invented a new name for it SCAROWEEN!!
Daddy, our other little child, decorated the front porch about 3 month
prior to the event to make sure we get the most out of it. He also made
sure that Finley believes skeletons, tombstones, enormous
cobwebs+spiders, big orange pumpkin masks draped over the outside
lights,witches, monsters, bats, and evil scare crows, are an everydayoccurrence and belong on people's front porches. As a matter of fact, now that Halloween is over he is still looking for all these things and I made the huge mistake introducing him to YouTube. He now know that there are "scaries" on YouTube, to be looked at, all the time. We also took a great number of library trips to look at and take home scary Halloween
books (the scarier, the better). And since there was no shortage of
those, we spent most of October at the library and might as well have
moved in.

Anyway, my first carved pumpkins, happily displaying
the word "boo", were slowly eaten by fruit flies and gradually rotted
away long before anyone even had their first cob webs draped across
their front lawn. Needless to say, we prepared him well for Halloween
and I think we created a monster. He now shares his bed with a
tarantula, two feet in diameter, and the house is littered withcockroaches
, worms, spiders, and bugs of any color, shape, or size. A few mornings
ago, I came close to a hart attack, when I found myself next two a
monster spider, during my morning grooming session. The huge thing had
somehow found its way into the tub the night before. Yes, they also
have to share the bath with him!!

A trip to a pumpkin patch was inevitable
and resulted in a long and sleepless night as some Halloween figures
displayed on that field may have visited him in his dreams. It wasn't
all hell, even though they did a great job making it look spooky. I
suppose it may have been spooky at night. This reminds me of the
Halloween hayride we did before Finley was born. Not really for
children, since it maneged to scare the living daylights out of me,
especially when we walked through the haunted house and forest. It was
fairly safe on the tractor, where I placed myself right in the middle
of the trailer and pretended not to be there. Death, however, found me
and jumped up to sit next to me with his sickle. I was frozen. I
quickly defrosted though whilst walking trough the haunted forest,
clinging on to anyone who looked like they were alive. I may have wet
my pants a little when the freak with the chain saw jumped from behind
a tree and I really don'tremember much else since I think I passed out at some point!! Really, who comes up with shit like that, I wonder??

highlight of this year's Halloween celebration was as always the
Hanover Haunted Mansion Street Parade. This takes place every year and
residents of Hanover Street go to great lenghts making Halloween a scary and memorable experience
for young and old alike. Two street blocks are closed of just for that purpose
and we should have given Finley a huge bin bag instead of the poxy
little pumpkin bag he had for collecting candy (his other new favorite
word). The pictures to accompany my blog are on flickr and really speak for themselves. Finley was dressed as superman and had a ball collecting candy, flirting with super girl
, being chased by little skunks, and admiring all the scary things on
display. Hopefully he will be able to take as much delight in old Santa
and his brood since they are not the slightest bit scary. I'd much
rather have a shower with an elf than a tarantula...that does not sound
right, I know!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Post for Granny

Imagine how busy I am? No post since July!!!! Well, this one is just
for Granny and...no more bad luck for you guys. The secret has been
drowned and when it is dry enough (it's hanging on the washing line) I
will burn it;-)))The photos I have added, have been taken over the past
few weeks. The one with Finley and lalu is the last one you will see of him with a pacifier. Lalu has gone by by and lives now with Halliday in Fredricksburg
. Fishy is now the only lovey he's got and Fishy is taking a bit of a
beating...day and night. Finley now sleeps in a "big boy" bed from IKEA and escapes frequently to play with Choo choos (man, is that a word???) and other things at night. Potty training has
been postponed until further notice...no time to run after him with a
portable toilet. He'll get it eventually, probably before his first
So, no more boring words...here's some action!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Super duper weekend at the river

To celebrate Phil's Birthday (and my own) Alex invited us all to the Woodbury cabin on the Potomac River for some fun in the sun...and on the beach.
fun already started on Friday. However, I only joined the party on
Saturday afternoon after four very long hours of examination on all
things boring...and a little difficult. Yes, I took the Virginia
Communication and LiteracyAssessment exam in order to get a teaching
license. No results have been mailed to me yet and I am still hoping
that I may have passed, even though I failed to write a summary of one
I guess it will all reveal itself sooner or later.
Anyway, as soon as this was done, I ran to my car and raced as fast as I could (the latest Coldplay
blasting out of my headphones) towards Mount Holly. Upon arrival, (I
was a little delayed due to 20 different directions I had been given
and the GPS knowing f... all)I got whisked away on the "Party Craft" to
a remote island, where we ate, drank, played games, and wallowed in the
water until...everyone on the beach had gone home.
As the sun had taken it's toll on some of us, we heavy hearted
embarked on our journey home. Back at the cabin, we feasted on
mountains of delicacies, drank gallons of bourbon and lemonade,
and...went to bed--drunk and happy!!!
The boys lit the fire in the
pit and everyone had to stand back a mile as it was a little warm. I,
on the other hand saw the flickering light of the flames from my
bedroom window and drifted off into a peaceful, happy sleep until
Steve's blackberry started screaming at six in the morning. Of course,
I could not find it quickly enough under the piles of rubbish that had
accumulated over the past two days. Consequently I spent the morning
watching Elmo with my son while my husband had no trouble sleeping
throughlalalalalalala...Elmo's world!!!!!
Sunday was beach day
again and we once again wallowed in the brown, brackish brew that is
the Potomac River. Steve assured me that the water is not dirty...'it's
from the roots and the trees," he kept saying. And I believed him.
After all he is my husband, why would he lie to me. ...so where did all
those bubbles come from than? I ask myself;-)
Given the fact that I
am still alive, have not developed various boils, and that my skin is
in fact the softest it had been in a long time, is reason enough to
trust in Steve's words.
All in all, it was a great weekend with wonderful friends.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Thunderbolt Kid

Thanks to Kathy Simpsons's strong iced coffee, I was able to get a lot
of reading done last night. After three hours of clauses, verbs, nouns,
participles,modifiers, and many other important paraphernalia of the
English language, however, my brain started to hurt. To give my cranium
a rest I decided to switch to something light hearted instead.
on my bookshelf, buried under Wordsworth, Lawrence, and Conrad,I
knew, was a book I purchased on my recent trip back from England.
Traveling with a two year old and considering the "very unlikely" event
of an emergency landing(crash) it seemed like a good idea to buy
something funny. I chose Bill Brysons's latest work " The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid", an account of his childhood in Des Moines
???, Iowa. Luckily, there was no unexpected landing. There was,
however, a Thunderbolt Kid of my own that prevented me from even
starting to read the book.

Anyway, as I frantically tore through
masterworks of English literature, I found what I was looking for. It
took a moment to get back into Bryson's unconventional style of writing,
and as I lay there in my bed-- at midnight--tears of laughter streaming
down my face, desperately trying not to wake my husband by laughing out
loud, I remembered that it was this guy who really made me want to
become a writer. Bill Bryson and his Rabelaisian delight of using
scatological language, his love for lists, dramatic exaggerations and
endless rampages and digressions. His publication "Notes from a Small
Island" is still one of my favorite books. I attribute that to the fact
that his love for that very island reminds me so much of my own feelings
for the British Isles, a place I called home for more than ten years.
Apart from that, the book is really funny. Thunderbolt Kid is amusing in
a very different way. Here is a passage that--I thought--was hilarious!!
every summer, at the start of the mosquito season, a city employee in
an open jeep would come to the neighbourhood and drive madly all over
the place - over lawns, through woods, bumping along culverts, jouncing
into and out of vacant lots - with a fogging machine that pumped out
dense, colourful clouds of insecticide through which at least eleven
thousand children scampered joyously for most of the day"
In his
book, he states that "...perhaps a generous dusting of DDT would do us
good", and that is exactly the light hearted attitude and broad minded
outlook that I enjoy about Bryson's writing. There is so much humour
(mostly very dark) satire and a bit of sarcasm that makes reading it a
pleasure. By the way, all his books are great fun!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Birthday Boy!!

Another year has passed and, finally tomorrow, our son will be TWO.
Some call it the terrible two with lots of tantrums to set in on the
event of the second birthday or shortly thereafter.
I will put this
to the test and position a video camera above his bed tonight in order
to capture and document whatever happens the night before they turn
So far he seems normal and very happy and content. He greatly
enjoyed his pool Birthday bash - who wouldn't?? He loved being the
center of the Universe. Just like his daddy, when he was young and
handsome, Finley was surrounded by pretty girls, drinking in their beauty and bathing in their admiring eyes.
Whilst our son was carried away by Keatsean prose I made sure we all did not fade away like the ailing knight and tried to offer some more nourishing
things alongside love and beauty. I managed to trick the little
monsters into eating a VEGETABLE cake!!! They all thought, of course,
it was plain chocolate cake. What they weren't aware of, though, was the fact that it was made from zucchinis ***grrr
** covered with...oh no..dark chocolate. Fact is they could not get
enough of it and when the party finished - it was all gone;-))))
Amongst all of us we managed to bring every single blow up water toy that had ever been invented and guess who used them the most??? I guess the attached photos will be my witnesses.
of us stayed in the water until our skin was wrinkly and I swear I saw
some people started to grow webbed feat...could have just been toe jam
Anyway, it was great fun. Thanks to all you guys for coming out to Camp Hilbert in the remote Goochland
forests. I am glad we did not loose anybody out there, well, perhaps we
did. Please check in if you are still wandering the woods;-)))
Also, thanks for all the great pressies. Finley and Halliday RIPPED them all open later that evening, heavily encouraged by happy parents holding a cold beer and repeatedly 'cheersing' at the little bunnies.
All the items were immediately tested for child safety by all of us and all the snakes, crocodiles, airplanes, puzzles,
knives, forks, plates, books, sunglasses, magnifying glasses, and
backpacks got the parent's seal of approval. We still sat at the front
porch at midnight with rubber sunglasses, a snake each around our necks
and, by than, a Bourbon and Coke and a cigar in our hands.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Come here! For the dream wedding of the year!!

Keswick Hall!! What an amazing place to celebrate an event like that.
Of course if you get the right people together, anywhere is a great
place to get married. However, a fusion of wonderful people, awesome
location with stunning scenery, beautiful country hotel with swimming
pools, spa and golf course, places this event up there in the top...I
guess three or so!!!
The only place to be at the moment, in this
scorching Southern Virginian heat wave, is water. ...and that
was exactly how we spent most of the wedding weekend - submerged in
cool liquid, very often with some kind of cool liquid in our hands. We
only left the pool to sleep, eat and party. Here I might add that even
the parties ended in the pool at some point. Needless to say, various
dubious things such as single shoes - very wet, ties - very wet,earrings and other suspicious items where continuously handed into reception for pick up!!!
and Richard's friends came from all corners of the world, which added
an amazing array of cultural diversity to the event. It was a melting pot
of interesting people and there was not a single person all weekend who
did not smile from deep within;-))
In the midst of this wonderful setting at Keswick
you could not help but smile. When we got there on Friday afternoon, I
was in a dreadful mood. Almost to a point where I wanted to go straight
back home...(truth is, I wanted to buy a dress in the morning and could
not find anything and therefore was mighty miserable).
Anyway, a nice walk on the golf course and a long swim afterwards not only cured me from misery but made me utterly happy!!
I digress to much, I quickly have to point out that this wedding
featured the most touching and funny speeched I had ever heard, even in
my very long career as wedding coordinator in my previous life in the
There was not a dry eye in the house when Richard read 'The Road
not Taken' by Robert Frost to his new wife Molly. It was simply magical
and unforgettable and I was truly thankful, once again, to the pharmaceutical industry for inventing waterproof mascara!!!
mascara turned out to be a favorite as the party started to get
horribly out of hand given the nature of early morning, drunken
waterside activities like naked water polo. I don't wish to go into detail, but this scenery taken straight from Forster's 'A Room with a View', with male testosterone lingering in the air, charged with a good portion of homo eroticism was almost better than the film, which incidentally features Daniel Day Lewis...who looks startlingly like Richard;-)))))
was, to say the least, great fun and we all wanted to stay there
forever, drifting along in the infinity pool, turning our backs to work
and everyday life. But like all good things this one also came to an
end. Even though we managed to drag it out until late Sunday afternoon.
We finally made an exit at about 4 o clock in the afternoon before
getting introduced to the hotel's Rottweilers and after the poor waiter at the pool had filled our water glasses for the billion st time!!!!

Thank you Molly and Richard for hosting a perfect wedding and hope you enjoy your honeymoon;-))))))))

Friday, June 06, 2008

Vacation to Europe

Before I start an elaborate account of Molly and Richard's most wonderful wedding at Keswick Hall, I briefly need to mention Finley and my annual trip to England and Austria.
entire trip was of course a surprise and neither the English nor
Austrian grandparents knew of our arrival. Steve and I where also
surprise guests at his brother in law's 40 Birthday bash...a 70s theme
party and a really good laugh.
We stayed in Austria for a little over 2 weeks, not long enough to settle into Waldhausen life to an extent on which returning to the States would have caused unbearable heartache.
It was nevertheless eventful
and filled with joy and laughter as well as the occasional tear. I have
come to the conclusion that nothing, at least nothing major, will ever
change there, apart from a few more little citizens every year and
perhaps a new annex for the church...oh and of course the new 'Marktcafe' (great place, lovely service, awesome coffee;-)))
Our stay was predominantly to spend some quality time with my dad before he was to undergo more treatment and for Finley to learn some German words, which we could than add to his existing 35 English and 3 other German words.
also discovered once again that Finley should have been born as some
kind of water creature and not as human as he missed no opportunity of
jumping into anything wet.
This is of course no problem in 95 F
Richmond heat, but morning temperatures in our second week in Austria
where at about 4C and it was pretty chilly to say the least.
The first week was fine weather wise, and we took the odd dive into freezing cold lake water until our lips where blue.
Apart from that we had a lovely BBQ at Hans and Simone's energy efficient house,watched Gitti's extremely talented girls on stage in a theater production by no other than the extremely
talented Mom, planted millions of flowers in Ida's hotel balcony window
boxes and took the most amazing sisterly road trip on a virtually empty
tank trough theYspertal valley.
Finley and I returned to Richmond on a very uneventful but relaxing flight on the 27th May only to go off again a couple of days later to Keswick Hall for the wedding of the year;-))))

Monday, April 28, 2008

Brook View Farmers Market

There is nothing nicer than getting out of Bed early on a Saturday
morning and head out into the country side for some farm activity. Only
about five years ago this would have sounded pretty alien to me.
Probably because I lived in the country and getting up before the sun
was at its highest point on a Saturday would just have been down right
However, things have changed. Friday nights are no longer spent at Stallones
or Star Lights or New York Delis or what ever those places of sin call
themselves these days. No...we have learned to appreciate the home
life. The quiet dinner at home. The family gatherings. TV nights. Bed
early. 1 or 2 beers...some ice cream.
Anyway, Brookview Farm celebrated Earth Day and we where there when they opened their gates - at 9am on the dot;-))
The farm is out in the Goochland area, Manakin - Sabot, to be precise. There was a ton of things to do and lots of great food for in between.
In between photo shootings with a gorgeous Brahman bull, a very shy donkey, a pony, a hen on the run chased trough the undergrowth by Finley, thousands of escaped bees and their keeper Alfredo from Columbia and of of course little Finley, his daddy and me, we indulged in organic beef sausages and ginger ale.
was a beekeeper lecture, which included the catching of wild bees and a
lecture on solar powered energy. Finley got to ride a pony, sit on a
tractor and roll around in the green, green grass.
The farmers market takes place every Saturday from 9am and its well worth going...very pretty area;-)))

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lemon-Lime Bars


* 2/3 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
* 4 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel, divided
* 6 eggs
* 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup lemon juice
* 3/4 tsp. baking powder
* 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 1 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
* 2 Tbsp. sifted powdered sugar


1. Prepare Candied Citrus Slices or Strips, (see recipe), if desired. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with heavy foil; set aside.

2. For crust, in large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Beat in 2 cups of the flour until crumbly. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon peel. Evenly press on bottom of prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, for filling, in medium bowl combine eggs, granulated sugar, remaining 1/2 cup flour, lemon juice, baking powder, and nutmeg. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Stir in remaining lemon peel and the lime peel. Pour over hot crust. Bake 20 minutes more or until edges are browned and center appears set. Remove to rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours.

4. To serve, sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar. Lift from pan using foil; cut into bars. Add Candied Citrus Slices or Strips, if desired. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days. Makes 16 to 20 bars.

5. Candied Citrus Slices: In large skillet combine 1/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar; bring to boiling. Add 2 lemons or 10 key limes, thinly sliced. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until just softened. Transfer to rack; cool.

6. Candied Citrus Strips: Cut strips of peel from 2 lemons or 2 limes. With spoon scrape away white pith. Cut into thin strips and cook in sugar mixture as above.


Thomas the Tank Engine

The huge suitcase from England has arrived - in it, Thomas the Tank Engine
-Thank you auntie Fiona;-))
Finley was mighty excited about it and immediately started putting it together - with hardly any help from his daddy;-)))
is a great day for playing indoors as it is chucking it down since this
morning...at least 3 inches!!! This is of course great for the garden
and as I am writing, my beautiful new landscaped garden is turning into
the Amazon Rain Forest
Everything is sooooooo green, it is amazing and all my plants are growing, well at the moment it looks more like they are drowning;-((
worries, I will just plant some new ones. After all it is only April
and we had nearly 30C yesterday. So it looks like we are in for a VERY
long and probably very HOT summer!!! We'll see how much of it I can
take before madness sets in. I might have to build a tunnel from the
refrigerated house to the equally cold car in order to avoid the
scorching heat while my friends and family over there in Europe have
to wear little jackets, once the sun sets, so they don't get
cold***??!!**. Man, I'll miss the summer over there and I hope you guys
have snow till at least July and than again from mid August;-)))))))It
looks like I have gone mad already...oh well, never mind. Life is a lot
easier if you are crazy;-)

In the meantime I'll enjoy the lush vegetation before it turns all brown again in a couple of month.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yiiiiii ha!! Cowboy;-)

At long last I have found the farm I had been looking for ever since I moved to the States. It only took 2 1/2 years and a 40 min drive out to Powhatan, but it was well worth it.
Martina and Lilly came along as babysitter while I rode a handsome 17
hand, four year old gelding named Helmet **@#**??. What the hell where
they thinking when they named that horse??
Name aside, Helmet (let's call him Helmi) has only been ridden for about 90 days and needs all the help he can get from his rider. Donna Crossman,
the stable owner took me and him under her wings and guided us trough
our first adventure together. He has beautiful gaits and is a real
sweetheart. Having not really done much in the field of horses ever
since Finley entered the scene, I am happy to be working with Donna and
look forward to learning a lot from her.
Reedwind farm is a lovely place and Donna mainly trains quarter horses, but also has a few boarders and does the occasional lesson.
Finley and Lilly had a little ride on the farm's 'granny horse' Holly
and judging by the look on their faces, they really enjoyed it. We all
got to ride around in a golf cart. The kids took turns steering, which
was rather scary. Took a long time to get from A to B;-))Finley took a
crash course in roping and mastered it like a pro.
It was a great day and we all look forward to many more days on the farm and lots of riding;-)))))