railroad at chapman mill

Chapman Mill is a crumbling ruin standing where Prince William and Fauquier Counties come together. I’ve driven past it countless times. Every single time, I say aloud, “I want to go take photos there.” (even if I’m in the car alone)
Well, Saturday two weeks ago, the sun was shining (for the first time in ages) so YBW and I got bundled up against the below freezing wind chills and headed to the mill.
I got to wear my brand new love YOUR melon beanie for the first time!
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(Little D’s new mom and I were texting about getting together and I took this photo asking her to tell him I kiss him. But at least you can see my hat so it’s cool.)

When we arrived at the mill site we were greeted by this.
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I was livid! THE FREAKING GATE WAS LOCKED!! We couldn’t get all the way down the road to the mill. I will admit to saying one or two bad words…well, perhaps it was one or two bad sentences. How dare you hang a sign to welcome me and then lock the gates? Rude!

But…the railroad runs right beside the mill. So I get it in my head to walk down the tracks to the mill.
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Only the moment I walk up the path to the tracks I hear the whistle of a train…I waved to the engineer and he waved to me. It called up all the many times in my life I’ve stood at the side of the railroad and done that. It brought me great joy and in that brief moment, I was a little girl again.
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YBW decides right then it may not be the safest course of action since the sides are steep and there really is nowhere to go but down. I was like, but the train just came by, this is the safest time. We split the difference and I just stood at the path crossing. Honestly, I didn’t want to go down to the mill by myself, I wanted to share that experience so it worked out OK in the end.

I absolutely loved this curve in the tracks. I think the railroad is so elegantly beautiful for being something so well constructed for such hard core usage.
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You know I had to look for spikes while I was up there. And I found some, just lying around in the rocks. I love how a railroad spike and rocks create these natural sort of collages.
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There were three such collages, but this is the particular spike I picked up and carried home.

The mill really is quite compelling. In a hauntingly sad yet beautiful way.
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I’m eager to return when the gates no longer lock me out. The wheel is still there on the other side of the mill. You can see Broad Run, which is a lovely. The view from the interstate is even more beautiful than this view from the railroad. I’m keeping my hackles up, but I’ll be checking back more frequently as the weather warms.

When we left the mill site, we drove down along the tracks just to see where they went. This was the opposite way of home, but we were on an adventure! We were out with our cameras to shoot things that moved us!

I loved the way this railroad crossing sign looked behind the overgrown grasses.
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Lastly I got on my knees in the middle of another crossing to shoot the tracks from a different point of view.
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The mail carrier who had to wait for me to get my shot and get back up out of the way before he could drive his truck over the crossing didn’t seem terribly impressed by my attempt to create art…of course he had a job to do and I was just out shoot stuff.

We decided to go back out today with our cameras. I’ll leave my warm beanie at home today because instead of upper 20s wind chills, we’ll have upper 60s temperatures today! I might even wear a dress depending on where we decide to go shoot.
Spring is kicking down winter’s door today and I intend to take full advantage of it!

Here’s a quick vid about the mill and it’s restoration.
(My advice to you is: mute the music.)

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Remember Me ~ British Sea Power

I’m feeling a whole lot of British Sea Power this afternoon.
This is Remember Me from their 2001 album The Decline of British Sea Power. Also on that album is my all time favorite BSP song, Carrion. It’s worth checking out.
Their new record, Let The Dancers Inherit The Party, releases March 31! I’m an excited sort of girl!

Please listen responsibly.

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squirrel study

Outside the window in our back living room there is a tree. This tree is an extremely popular hang out for squirrels.
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Now I know most people don’t like squirrels. Honestly, that makes me kind of sad because I just love squirrels. They’re kind of adorable and they do the funniest things!

I love to watch them in this tree, sometimes there is more than one. They chase and play and race up and down and over the branches. On this particular day there was only one, and mostly he (she?) was having a bath.
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Once he was clean, he began to consider how he might explore his environment.
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I love how his little hand is holding onto that teeny branch.

Then it got interesting when he did a series of somersault-like things around the branch.
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He did it a couple of times in a row before he went back to bathing.
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What a funny little guy!

When Thing 1 and Thing 2 were little girls, we had a squirrel that loved to hang out on our back porch out by the pool. They realized their father put treats out for the squirrel so they named him “Little Buddy” because he was Daddy’s little squirrel buddy. Soon, Little Buddy began to bring around a friend. They named him “Fatso” because he was a really big squirrel. When we moved to SC, Thing 2 was rather serious about bringing Little Buddy and Fatso with us. She was concerned the new people who were going to live in our house might not take good care of them and they would be sad and miss us. She also pronounced the word squirtle instead of squirrel. I still say squirtle when I see or talk about squirrels.

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Dust Bunnies ~ Kurt Vile

Been experiencing a great deal of head pain lately and the opening line of this song is a fairly accuarate description of what I’ve felt like the last few days.

You may think that it’s funny now
That I got a headache like a shop vac coughin’ dust bunnies

Please listen responsibly.

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snowy surprise

I woke up to this.
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How beautiful!

Unfortunately it’s a total waste of a snow day because schools are already closed. End of the second quarter and only teachers report to their buildings.
The roads are clear, just a bit wet, but it was enough to delay area schools two hours.

I left the house at 8:45 to drop off something at the post office on the way to my therapy appointment. The naked trees so pretty with a coating of fresh snow. As I drove down Grant Avenue, I was truly in the middle of a winter wonderland!
What a pleasant surprise!

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two boring sides of one disappointing coin

During a chat conversation this morning, my darling English friend shared with me what he’s working on in therapy. We talked quickly before I had to leave for school, which left the conversation open ended. He suggested we come back to it later “and maybe we can discover where our minds and beliefs agree.”
What I adored about this conversation was that is was in no way aggressive or argumentative. We were just remarking on the subject as we see it.
Oh, but it got me thinking!

Here’s the pertinent bit of the conversation:
Him:
I’m supposed to be working on the Madonna and Whore dichotomy for my meeting with my counselor tomorrow.
So far it’s not going brilliantly. As far as I’ve got is that all women have aspects of the Madonna and Whore, but no women should be looked at in just those lights.

Me:
Interesting
Perhaps you could consider women as activists? Women as world changers? There are a f**k load of those out there. Even though you’re not the biggest fan of liberal minded women.

Him:
Men put the Madonna on a pedestal and objectify the Whore, and both are wrong
I love liberal minded women, I just don’t like angry liberal minded women

Me:
I suspect it is somehow bred into women this Madonna and whore thing. I don’t think we’d come up with that on our own and I believe that’s worth considering.

Him:
I believe a lot of woman is created by what a man wants, needs, desires and expects.

Me:
Yet women oughtn’t be angry?
I think you just made the whole point!!

Him:
As a polite Englishman, I think I struggle with women who are angry, rude, aggressive, opinionated, and political. How odd.

Me:
Interesting!
What if the women were not rude or aggressive? What if they were angry and opinionated and political?

Him:
An angry woman is also difficult for me to accept.

Me:
The opinion you have and share with many men is why women have been, are, and will remain ‘less than’.
That’s something worth being angry about.

Him:
It’s not an opinion, it’s a whole belief system

Me:
Yes it is.
Because I have breasts and a vagina, I’m somehow only one of two things. Neither of which has power unless “bestowed”.

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Carrie and Miranda know what’s up.
And that right there is why women (and men, and in some cases, children) took to the streets Saturday last!

If the men of the world were somehow either Madonna or whore with no other real identity that foolishness would cease with a quickness!
That makes me angry!
That makes loads of women angry!

On the way to dinner I was telling YBW about the conversation and that it sparked this post. He mused that most men don’t like angry women because they can’t be controlled and that frightens them.
This makes a kind of sense to me, but I suspect there’s more to it than that…

I’m strong and capable. I’m smart and funny. I’m loud and brash. I’m kind and compassionate. I’m confident in my sexuality. I’m “girlie” af. I’m infuriating as hell. And I am sometimes so angry I cannot speak, only shake with violent rage. I am in charge of my own body. I decide what is right for me. I love with an unparalleled ferocity. I have immortal longings in me. Not to mention loads more things I’m not thinking of right now.
But what I am not is some pristine virgin. Neither am I a whore.

Being either Madonna or whore is boring!
It’s one dimensional.
Where’s the challenge? Where’s the adventure? Where’s the trial and error and lesson learning?
I believe women are more complex than that. We’ve got fires in our bellies, hearth fires and holocausts. We are terrifying and strange and beautiful. We are overflowing with much muchier muchness. We are bad ass warrior Goddesses. We are calm and gentle nurturing Earth Mothers. We are givers of life.

Men want women as Madonna or whore. Two boring sides of one disappointing coin.
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love not hate, and certain unalienable rights

Yesterday was a huge deal for women in my country. Women, no, not just women. People all over the country marched in protest. Marched in love. Marched because they could.
And I was greatly moved.
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I debated heading downtown yesterday, but truly hadn’t made enough of a plan to get it together. I missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate, but I was able to spectate. And honestly, that’s perfectly acceptable to me. I experienced it and it continues to impact me.
I was saying to YBW today that I don’t regret not going. That I am truly humbled by being able to watch it happen. That I’m humbled and proud to know so many amazing human beings. That our first amendment is a living breathing thing. That hundreds of thousands of people were able to exercise that beautiful right to take to the streets to say and show what they’re passionate about.

Gloria Steinem’s speech reminded me of being a little girl in the 70s. I did not like that she called out Trump…but I liked other things she said.

I think Madonna needed to shut her mouth before she even opened it.
To me it’s not about how horrible Donald Trump is. It’s about showing the world how strongly (these particular) Americans feel about human rights.

A friend of mine posted about her mother and uncles participating in the March on Washington with Dr. King. That she was marching for the same reasons as they did. Marching to honor them. Marching for her young daughters.
I was amazed at photos and posts on social media! Girls I held when they were babies marching. Mothers of children I’ve taught.
It was truly awe-inspiring to watch.

I read comments written by women who question the motives. And I began to wonder what that must feel like…to not be at all impressed by something that began as a facebook post became hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children standing up for freedom.
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This was posted by a woman I’ve known since we were nine and ten years old.
What troubles me about my country being so polarized is that this march was perceived as a “We hate Trump” rally.
Now sure, some of those people do hate him. Some of them are simply exercising their first amendment right. Some are truly all about the preservation of basic human rights.
It feels to me that this woman I’ve known since I was a little girl is focusing on hate and ‘party lines’ rather than perhaps considering that it’s not about hate. That it may be about something more.
That perhaps it might be better to strive for some unity rather than remaining so deeply divided.

This dad and his little daughter in Annapolis know what’s up.
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I don’t worship Hillary Clinton. I truly felt as though the election in November was a decision between the lesser of two evils. Yet, I couldn’t in good conscience abstain from voting. I could not dishonor the women who came before me in that way.
I don’t idolize her. I don’t demonize him.
I just want to believe that all the hard work that was put into building my country will be honored by everyone with political power.
Though I understand that concept of “not my president” I think it’s awful. He is our president. We have no choice now. Like it or not, if you’re an American citizen, he is your president. Acceptance is where it’s at. You can accept without liking it.
We must stop perpetuating this whole ‘us against them’ mentality. Divided we fail! We are all Americans. We are all human beings.

I’m so proud to be a woman.
A woman in a country in which women have had the right to vote for less than one hundred years! This is a bigger deal than most people ever stop to consider!
What those Suffragettes went through so women could vote…
What the Greatest Generation when through during the Second World War…
What those men and women went through in the time of the Civil Rights Movement…
What same sex couples went through for marriage equality…
What the LGBTQ people are going through to be respected as human beings…
I believe so strongly that we cannot ignore our past. We must honor it. And if we can, we must learn from it.

I read one remark (written by a woman, mind you) that the march seemed to be all about being able to have an abortion. And I thought, ‘Wow are you truly missing the point! It’s about the unalienable rights of all human beings.’ At least for me that’s what it is.
Being able to have an abortion is no longer an issue of concern for me. But it is for my daughters. It is for girls I’ve taught. I don’t believe abortion should be used as birth control. But I do believe every person should have the basic human right to choose what to do with and for their own body.

What the men and women who came before us went through to get us where we are is worth honoring. What those men and women did yesterday is worth honoring.
There will always be haters. On either side of any topic.
But for me, yesterday was about love.
Love for human beings.
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What can go right if we let go of hate and embrace each other?

Categories: education, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Autumn Leaves ~ Eva Cassidy

Eva’s version of this song I love suits my mood this morning.
Please listen responsibly.

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feeling inspired

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Inspiration sometimes comes from the most surprising places. Thing 2 shared this old photo on facebook this morning. She has been uberpositive of late and it moves me greatly!

I took a screenshot to share.
It got me thinking:
Love the you that you are!
And love the you that you were. Sure, those you(s) need work…so do the work! But always love yourself unconditionally while you do the work.
Treat yourself with kindness!
You deserve to be treated with kindness. That starts in you, be kind to yourself. How else will others know to treat you with kindness?
Share your inspiration!
Stories of ‘failures’ are just as powerful as stories of ‘success’. We all “wore Crocs” at some point in our lives. That is both a good and perhaps a not so good thing. Embrace it. Let it be a source of hope and inspiration!

And in the words of my daughter: “Just freaking worship yourselves, okay?”
You deserve it!

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

fun with lularoe

I Lula(ed) my ass off for two days straight! Four big boxes of merch came Thursday and Friday and I spent yesterday photographing and hanging it up. (Heading back down this morning to finish the job.)
I only pulled two pieces to keep for myself. Of course I chose the Sarah, a duster length cardigan that has the highest retail price of the entire line. But one of them is a duplicate so that’s kind of OK. And more importantly, if I’m wearing the merch, I look adorable and I feel comfy and that, my dears, is the best possible advertising!

What I love about lula is that you can integrate it into your daily wardrobe by mixing and matching with pieces you already have.
I wear my own sweaters over my lula all the time. Sweaters from Target and Old Navy. I pair tops, and even the Julia dress as a tunic with jeans. Leggings are fun with regular tees or button downs and sweaters. You can make it yours in so many different ways!

I created some seriously cute outfits I’d like to share with you. Some of the lula is mine I mixed with items in my store. The jeans and button down are obviously mine and all the funky jewelry is mine. For shoes, I’m imagining anything from boots to flats, chunky heeled mary janes to low top Converse.

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I already own the Azure skirt in this photo, the top is a duplicate Irma. That Sarah sings an aria to me! It might move from the rack in my store to my personal closet.

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This is a Julia dress paired with a Sarah. I love the colors in this outfit…unfortunately it’s not in my size.

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I can’t even with this one! How cute is this, all pink and floral? Interestingly enough, I’d probably not wear it, but I think it’s precious! Cassie skirt and Irma tunic with a Joy to complete the look.

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I like the colors in this Sarah. It’s shown with an Irma tunic and leggings.

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It’s a bit “red white and blue”, but I like it. This Sarah is easy to add to things I already own and wear pretty regularly. And it would make a great Opening Day outfit at Nats Park come April!

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This Carly is mine. And I mean mine mine mine!! I coveted this dress for quite a while before I bought it from another consultant. I’m dying to wear it with my own brown sweater and tights and boots now, but won’t it be cute with bare legs and little ballet flats in the Spring? The Sarah will stay in my shop.
LuLaRoe has just started using brown in their fabrics. It’s about freaking time!

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This is a Julia dress with a Cassie skirt over it topped off by a Sarah cardigan. I designed it for a customer of mine. She loved it!

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I’m not the biggest fan of a maxi skirt, but the one Lula makes is actually quite nice. This is a very colorful combination that struck me as just good fun. Classic T with the Maxi and Sarah, the purple are leggings I used for color as a scarf.

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I love this one!
Classic T that already hangs in my closet, my jeans and a Cassie skirt as scarf topped with a Sarah. This Sarah is a duplicate, so moving it to my personal closet won’t make too much difference. I still haven’t decided if I can or cannot live without it. Stay tuned!

When I was a little girl, I loved to play with Barbie dolls. The ‘Great Barbie Controversy’ really frustrates me. Any parent who hands their child (girl or boy) a Barbie without conversation isn’t fit to be a parent in my opinion!
To me, Barbie was never some unattainable body goal. She was a dress up doll! I loved to dress her up in all her beautiful clothes and shoes. And those special moments when my mom would get her 1950s and 1960s Barbies out of the attic for me to play with were like Christmas!! Those Barbies had lace undergarments and pretty little gloves! They were SO much fancier than my 1970s and 1980s Barbies.
I’ve always loved clothes. Went through a phase (most of my life) in which I had no real style, but it didn’t stop me loving clothes!
For me LuLaRoe is kind of like playing dress up all over again. Only now I have a headless dress dummy instead of Barbie dolls.
I love putting clothes together in new and different ways. I’m a total clothes whore.
As I’ve gotten older, I’m letting go of those “mustn’ts” and “shouldn’ts” when it comes to clothes. I’m mixing and matching in ways that are artist and comfortable and I absolutely love it!
Though one mustn’t I abide strictly is ‘no white after Labor Day’…Southern girls know that intrinsically. I love the way it looks when someone pairs white jeans with something cute in the fall or winter, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.
Anyway, it’s about time for me to go Lula! Y’all have a great day!

Categories: lularoe | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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