Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's a VERY Special Day for a VERY Special Someone

Chad's Birthday is today and although I am sad that I can't spend it with him, I'm still Happy it is his special day!

Babe, I love you and hope you have a wonderful Birthday! I thank God that I get to share my life with you and I'm looking forward to a year full of shared adventures! Happy Birthday Hubby!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mom and Dad's Visit

A week ago my parents were able to come and visit me in Virginia. Dad stayed for about a week and Mom for a about 10 days. I was so thankful they braved the many flights and airport hoping to get here. We had a wonderful time- it was so nice to have some actual time to spend together after living in different countries for 2 years! I got to stay at the hotel with them even in Lynchburg so it was a holiday at home (sorry I froze you with the air conditioning- I really am an 'oven'!)

NOTE: I can't get blogger to co-operate with moving the pictures- sorry they are out of order!

Mom Sailing on Chesapeake Bay.
Mom and Dad on the Sunset Sail.
The old City Hall in Richmond, VA.
Dad's very MANLY rental car... well, it was good on gas!
The Reflecting Pond and Washington Monument.

Karmyn and Niblet in front of the White House!
The riot police at the Capitol Buildings.
Karmyn at the Capitol Building.

I was (thankfully!) able to get 4 days off from work in a row so we headed to DC for the weekend. We stayed in Springfield at the very end of a Metro line. We took the Metro into DC and spent the whole day getting on and off the trolley and looking at all the sights. The thing that was striking was how freeking big everything was! It just doesn`t look that big and immpressive on the movies! Ha! We saw the Capitol Buildings, the White House, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the Vietnmam, Korean, and Second World War Memorials, the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pond, Georgetown, the Washington Cathedral, a zillion embassies, and a million people...and maybe the inside of every Starbucks we came across!

When we got out to look at the Capitol Building, we saw a bunch of police in their riot gear.... hmmmm.... then we saw the protest. There was a few hundred people gathered protesting the US support of Israel- all chanting "free Palestine"... then they were off on a march to the White House... wonder if they new that Bush was at the G8 summit in Germany? Ha! At least it seemed to scare away the tourists and we were able to get pics of just us in front of the Capitol Buildings (well, maybe us and a few Riot police!)

We headed down to the waterfront and ate at a most excellent Seafood Buffet. All the crab legs, shrimp, fish, crab cakes, etc you can handle! Mmmm! Took the Metro back to the hotel and crashed.

The next day we headed to Annapolis, Maryland but stopped at Mt. Vernon (George Washington`s Estate) along the way. Did the walk-through tour of the house (stationary tour guides that just say the same shpeel over and over and over and over....), saw his grave, orchard, gardens, etc.

Annapolis is right on Chesapeake Bay and after finding Starbucks we were able to find a sunset sail boat ride... turns out it was the same boat that was in "The Wedding Crashers"! A 72 foot wooden sail boat Mom even got to sail the boat! The wind was really calm and we had to use the motor a bit at first, but we sailed in the bay and up the Potomac river. The beautiful homes along the banks, the Annapolis Naval Academy and just barely fitting under the bridges as the sun set made it unforgetable.

The next morning we looked in the hoity-toity shops in downtown Annapolis. Think "Banff on steroids"! From there we headed down to Richmond, VA (the capitol of Virginia). The countryside drive was beautiful and of course I fell asleep! In Richmond we made Dad drive (in his VERY MANLY rental car which he LOVED! Not!) the freeways to downtown to see the government buildings, the Govenor`s Mansion, state court building and the old City Hall which looked like a castle.

From there is was back to Lynchburg after a brief stop at the Strawberry-U-Pick. We topped off the trip with an Olive Garden feast. Fun times. Fun times.

Dad left on Wednesday and had a very eventful trip home (not what you want on your trip home.) After his plane had to fly around a large storm, he missed his connection flight, had to spend the night in a Pheonix hotel with no American cash and no luggage. Then he had to fly all day the next day through Seattle to get home only to find out his luggage was not with him (surprise, surprise!) But at least he got home safe and the luggage (which was really full of my skinny-clothes) arrived later that night!

Mom and I then had a few days to yak, drink coffee, talk baby everything (pregnancy, feeding, sleeping, labor, diapers) and of course shopping. It was hard to drop her off at the airport-hard to say goodbye- hard to be alone again. Strange how when you look forward to something for so long how it is feels when it is finished- but so thankful for the good visit and even more excited to be going home to Canada in 6 weeks!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Our Neighborhood

When they say 'big old rambling houses' this is what they meant. The pictures don't do justice, but we(I) live in a historic district where many of the houses are from before the turn of the century. Crazy but big and beautiful!

What do you expect?

When we were in China on our way home from Korea, we did a bit of shopping at a market in Beijing. Interesting to say the least. Everything was a knock-off, with some better than others. Chad bought a brown leather "Levis" belt for a few dollars (after the girl held a lighter up to it to show it didn't burn and therefore was real leather!) Before he left for Canada, he was wearing the belt and it fell apart. Disappointing at first as he likes the belt, he started to see if he could fix it. As he played with it, a small piece fell to the floor. What was it but a small, 3 pronged fish hook with an inch or so of fishing wire attached....?????..... we will probably never know!

The World's BIGGEST Stingers!

So a while ago, I was sitting at the computer when a hear a thud on the stove. Sounds like a piece of plaster has fallen from the ceiling. So over I saunter over casually... only to see a flying bug. I bravely get the tea towel to 'whip' the bug to the ground, when all of a sudden I see how FREAKISHLY big it is! Instead, I wait for it to land (I actually was quite calm!) and then grab one of Chad's big books to squish it (shhhh don't tell him!). That is it in the picture- next to a normal pen cap. Yikes! Hopefully there won't be any more!

I go into work a couple days ago and my one patient is a man who has been stung by one of these FREAKISHLY big bugs and had an anaphylactic reaction when the thing stung him IN THE EYE!!!!! No kidding!

Last Week Together

Yes, that is right. Chad and I have spent our last week together for a while :( . He was offered a supervisor job at a pool back in Canada for the summer/fall and with Niblet on the way and him unable to work in the States and me unlikely to get hired in Canada we decided that he would go and work up there and I would stay in Virginia in an effort to save some money before the stork delivers. Our plan is that Chad will come back and get me the end of July which means 8 weeks apart or 56 days or 1344 hours or 80640 minutes... but whose counting? Oh right! That would be me!

So, knowing that this would likely be the last time we had to do some sight seeing around here (you know the stuff you say you will always go see- seeing as you live right near it, but never actually make it to...) we made the most of it.

This spring Liberty University built a giant Logo ('LU' out of rocks and shrubs) on Liberty mountain. They put a gazebo up there and we heard you could hike up there. We decided it would be the perfect place for a picnic lunch.

When we got to the road leading up to it, the gate was open so after we hummed and hawwed over if we were allowed to drive up the gravel road (there were no signs to tell us otherwise) we decided to go for it. We were glad we drove as it was a bit of long ways and it was hot (just like every other single day now!)

At the top was a spectacular view of Lynchburg and the University- everything is sooooo green right now! While we were up there, Dr. Falwell's wife and son came up, so we got a picture (taken by Macel Falwell) with Jonathan Falwell, who has officially taken over his late father's church.

A few days later we visited 'Point of Honor' which is an old historic site right in a Lynchburg neighborhood. It was George Cabell's Mansion- built in 1815. This was cool as it had a whole tonne of local history and was beautifully restored.
The next site to knock off the list was the Old City Cemetery- founded in 1806 making it one of the oldest public cemeteries in the US that has been in continuous use since it's founding (yes, I have the brochure in front of me as the resident historian has left the country!). More than 20,000 people (3/4 African American, 1/3 children under 4 years old) are buried there- from prominent leaders, to slaves, to war veterans.

Below- Where over 2,200 Confederate soldiers from the Civil war were buried.
As you walk through the Cemetery, there were a whole bunch of stuff to see- Hearse House and Caretaker's Museum, Antique Roses, Station House Museum, Chapel and Columbarium, Site of the Civil War Quatermaster's Glanders Stable.

Below- The Pest House Medical Museum where in the 1800's patients with contagious diseases such as smallpox or measles were quarantined, and then it was used in the civil war to quarantine Confederate Soldiers. (The sand on the floor was to absorb blood and fluids and odors!!!) I could NOT imagine what it was like to be a nurse in those times!

Above-Karmyn with some of the antique roses (25 weeks along).
Below- There was also a Butterfly Garden which was a quiet shaded pond with a giant weeping willow tree that was beautiful. However, we didn't see a single butterfly- just lots of frogs!!

Next up is Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest which was designed by Jefferson himself and built in 1806 as his personal retreat. It was built on a huge tobacco plantation. The house is an octagon with a wing off the one side (currently being re-constructed) that was the kitchen, smoke house, cook's residence. It is all currently being restored as it was private property up until 1984 and had been changed so much from how it originally was designed and built. It was neat to see the restoration taking place.

The funny thing about this site was that it was really pricey to get it ($9/person) and our tour guide was the world's worst. He would tell us one thing and the signs would say something different. He would bounce around from detail to detail and never really tie anything together. He just kind of mumbled his way through everything and afterwards, one of the other visitors who had been there before, told us more about the history in a 5 minute casual visit than our tour guide was able to communicate! Ha!

Below- Even the biffy was octagonal (and hid by this privacy hill that was actually where the garbage was buried!)
That was about all the sites we could squeeze in between errands, work, and packing... but there is always time for one last Golden Corral feast!!! This is a $7 Southern Buffet- all you can eat steak, ribs, BBQ, stew, salad, pizza, soup, bread, vegetable, potatoes, dessert, ice cream! And for that price you HAVE to eat until you feel sick, right?!?