How Ya’ll Doin’?

Forgive me, Word Press Friends, for I have sinned.  It has been 6 months since I last posted.

Okay, so it’s not really a sin, but it sure has been awhile! I also realized that I never finished posting about our Pacific Coast Highway Tour … someday I’ll get to it!

I’ve managed to keep up with some of you through Monochromia and others of you through Zoom.

The rest of you, I have missed, and I assume you’ve all been posting regularly.  How ARE you?  What are you doing to keep occupied during this CoVid Crisis?Please share a link in the comments of a post that you would like me to read that will let me catch up on your life and health!

 Here in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the East Coast of North America, we have had tons of rain, and unlike many who have suffered in drought, the rain has allowed the ferns, flowers, and trees to bloom in abundance!  While I still see patients everyday in my Women’s Health / OB / Gyn Office, I am no longer traveling.  This time at home has given me opportunity to photograph some of the beauty right in my own backyard.

The flowers and trees are not rare varietals, but they sure make me happy.

Japanese Maple

Red Bud

Of course, Daffodils

Dogwood – the first photo in this post is a Dogwood as well

Gerbera Daisy

Rhododendron

And … some grocery store Tulips

As I told Joe, this time with my camera has started me thinking about upgrading my gear.  Time to do some research!

Our May wedding has been postponed to September.  Fingers crossed we can proceed.

And I have found time for the bike, although not near enough!

Thus far, family and friends are healthy.  Living in a less than dense area has kept those that I love free from CoVid-19.

Again, please share in the comments how you are doing or link to a recent blog post that would update me on how you are doing!

One Red Ball

Happiness = The first snow of the season

Plus, since my office is closed, I have a few hours to visit all of you!

A Pause in the Story

Some of you have been able to follow along as the Blogger Babes have shared happy stories from New Zealand and Australia.

Photo Credit: Alys’ camera on timer 🙂

Pauline (and her oh so much fun daughters Danella and Joanna, and Joanna’s partner Steve), Alys (and her husband Mike), Boomdee, and I had the most amazing time! Its hard to believe that after all the anticipation and planning, we are back home and blogging about it. I urge you to visit the blogs of these remarkable women and read their posts about the Blogger Babes Trip of a Lifetime. In case you are checking in for the first time, we:

All too soon our holiday came to an end, and some of our group journeyed back home. As for me, and for Alys and Mike, further adventures awaited. While Alys and Mike toured more of New Zealand, I prepared to fly off to Australia to begin my solo adventure. Before that though, I enjoyed hiking and jetboating in Queenstown.

Once in Australia, I spent two days touring Melbourne and one fabulous day in Sydney.

The trip was incredible and after a couple years of anticipation and planning, it is hard to believe that the trip is over, and that we are all back home. Of course, being back home means that the world intrudes and the fullness of life gets in the way of blogging, and visiting blogger friends. So while I have so much more to share from the trip, I’m going to take a short break from writing new posts to visit all of you.

I’ll be back soon to share stories and images from The Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park.

Cheers!

New Zealand Wine Tasting

A trip to New Zealand would just not be complete without a visit to a winery, and we were fortunate to have Rippon within walking distance.  No matter the wine, the view alone is worth the visit.

Is that not incredible?  Stunning!

During the tasting we learned that “the winegrowing team’s principal commitment is to the soil. Nurturing a healthy, responsive medium underfoot binds the vines and the people to their land.  Biodynamic farming and no irrigation help the vine drive energy into its seed and issue raw material that is capable of fostering wines that are true to their place”.

My favorite of the wines that we tasted was the Pinot Noir.   The winery also produces a Sauvignon Blanc, an Osteiner, a Gerwurtztraminer, and an Riesling.  Of course, part of the fun of any tasting is the people you are with.

After the tasting, we enjoyed playing with photography,

and hanging out in the Chair for Contemplation.

Finally, with no Designated Driver required, we walked home.

Happiness!

Daytrip to Queenstown

With Alys’ husband due to fly into the Queenstown airport, the 7 of us piled into two vehicles and drove the 68k into the city.

Can you guess who my seat mate was?

Along the way, we passed Bradrona, the famous “bra fence of Cardrona”.  The collection of bras started around 1999, when four bras mysteriously appeared overnight on a fence along the Cardrona Valley Road.  It wasn’t until an unknown bra thief began cutting them away under the shadow of the night that the fence gained its notoriety.  Every time they were cut away, even more were added, and the bra count has reached over 7000.  The infamous fence was rebranded to “Bradrona” in 2015 to raise money for breast cancer and $30,000 has been raised by people leaving donations in a box at the site.

What a powerful monument to say the least.  While we did not leave our bras, we did make a monetary donation.

We weren’t on the road long before, unable to resist the incredible view, we stopped at the top of the mountain.

What a thrill and what a chill!

Check out that road down the mountain!

Our first views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu took our breath away!

One of the fun things about New Zealand is the ever present cafe with ourdoor seating.  We found a table and enjoyed the view, the buskers, and the coffee.

A quick walk through the Queenstown Gardens revealed old growth trees, more beautiful views, and quiet time for reflection.

Then it was off to ride the Gondola!

Absolutely incredible!

After oohing and aahing over the view, and taking many a photo, we settled into the lounge for drinks.

Photo Credit Alys Milner and her selfie stick

The clouds began to roll in.  Check out the difference between these next two images.

We took the trip back down and after dinner in the Queenstown city centre, we hit the road for Wanaka.

Tommorow: Kayaking!

Three Days in Dunedin

Please take a moment to read Alys’ take on our journey thus far ❤

Gardening Nirvana

I’m having the time of my life!

In some ways this journey began two years ago.  During a Skype session, the Blogging Babes, as we’ve come to call ourselves, dreamed out loud of a trip to see Pauline in New Zealand. In 2015 Pauline joined us on our side of the world for an incredible trip to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Our time together deepened the friendships and expanded our hearts.

Now here we are three years later, meeting up with Pauline and her two lovely daughters in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Mike drove me to the San Francisco airport where I connected with Laurie. Though I dreaded the 13 hour flight across the Pacific, I was in for some lovely surprises.

SFO at Joe & the Juice Putting our heads together at Joe & the Juice, SFO (This one’s for you, Joe)

We got our sillies on five minutes into our journey, before boarding the…

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University of Otago

After a wonderful day Experiencing Dunedin and Otago Harbour, we slowed our pace with a lovely walk around the University of Otago.

With the first students being accepted in July 1871, it is the oldest university in New Zealand, and the third oldest in Oceania.

With over 20,000 students, the University offers Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees in Health Sciences, other Sciences, Business, and Humanities.

I’m not sure which was more impressive: the architecture or the trees!  The stone, while of a darker color, reminded me of Hokie Stone.

The walk was peaceful, offered wonderful scenery, and was the perfect way to end our day.

Dunedin: Rest, Recovery, and Pauline’s World

When we finally went to bed, I can honestly say that I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow.   Eight solid hours of sleep later, I was wide awake and feeling pretty good.  Even still, it takes more than 8 hours to recover from that long day of travel, and I was glad that we had a low key day spent exploring Pauline’s world, including her family.

We awoke to see Danella’s patio garden.  Even though the day was overcast, the flowers beckoned and my camera was soon put into action.  I’ve never taken my laptop on a trip before but I knew that I would want to share photos from the camera, not just the phone.

Danella provided coffee and toast (perfect with fresh tomotoes!) and soon Pauline and Siddy joined us.  That Siddy! He is adored by everyone that he meets.  What a sweet puppy!

After a quick nap, we took the short ride to Pauline’s home.  After a lifetime of seeing the driver in the front left seat, it was odd to see just the opposite.  Siddy, on Alys’s lap, enjoyed the fresh air!

Fans of Pauline already know what a talented artist she is.  It was wonderful to see her space and all her creations, and of course, the illusive Orlando!

 

We enjoyed an assortment of snacks accompanied by New Zealand wine, and after being joined by Joanna and Steven, a delicious dinner.

Dessert was the traditional Pavlova, prepared by Pauline and served by Joanna.  Evidently, New Zealanders and Australians disagree over who created this yummy dessert.

Before heading back to Danella’s for the night, we took a drive to see the ocean.  See the next post!

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The Journey Begins

The 40 hour travel day was worth it!  And we’ve only been here 2 days.

Often times blogging equals journaling and the posts from this journey will definitely serve that purpose.  I want to look back when I’m 80 and be able to remember this trip of a lifetime.  Join me as you like, and of course, feel free to comment, too.

The first leg of the trip had me leaving my home in Radford and driving to Roanoke at 4am.  A four hour layover at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC gave me the opportunity to enjoy the scenery and an airport bar / restaurant.

The five hour flight to San Franciso was uneventful, and soon I was having a joyful reunion with Alys.

We were both so impressed with Air New Zealand.   The plane was enourmous and new, the service from the flight attendants was wonderful, and the food and ammenities kept us occupied during that 12 hour journey.  We loved being able to order wine and snacks and play games using the touchscreen right in front of us.

 

Yes, sleep was a bit elusive, but all in all, it wasn’t bad.  There was one glitch, though. The plane had an air conditioning malfunction which led to a delay out of San Francisco.  We knew that making our connection would be a challenge and we practically ran through the Auckland airport trying to make our next flight.  Unfortunately, the Customs folks were concerned about dog treats and the possibility of fruit being brought into the country, and ultimately we missed our plane.

Always one to find the upside to a negative, the wait for the next flight gave me the opportunity to taste my first New Zealand beer.  It may have been 8:30 am local time, but it was 2:30 in the afternoon on the East Coast. Perfect time for a beer!  I ordered the Panhead (because of the motorcycle) but since the keg blew right when I got there, I enjoyed the All Blacks Steinlager, named for THE Rugby team of New Zealand.

After a long day of travel, we were greeted by Pauline and the famous Siddy.  Soon enough, we were seeing Boomdeeadda again, too.

Danella has opened up her home to us, and what a marvelous hostess she is!

Stayed tuned for Day 1 in Dunedin!

 

Where in the World is LB and Where is She Going?

Forgive me, WordPress Friends, but it has been 5 Weeks since my last confession … er, I mean, post!

In the almost 6 years that I have been blogging, that may just be a record.  So! Where have I been?

Inauguration

In early January, we traveled to Richmond, Virginia’s Capital City, to see the Inauguration of our new Governor.

It was a cold, but beautiful winter day and we were all so excited to be there!

As you might guess, I took a ton of photos.  Sadly, I just haven’t had time to work through them yet.  This image, though, shows the impressive sight of all 1600 Virginia Military Institute Cadets march by in the Inaugural Parade.  Our new Govenor, Ralph Northam, is a VMI Grad.

The Women’s March in Roanoke

One week later, I hit the streets of Roanoke for the Women’s March.

From the Women’s March to the Swearing-in of Delegate Hurst

We left the Women’s March a bit early and drove straight to the swearing-in of our new Delegate, Chris Hurst.

I loved catching this image of the Delegate in concentration,

and of course, enjoyed a quick visit in his office.

It was a long, exciting day and I’m so glad to have had this man to share it with.

Puzzle Time with Family

 I enjoyed a quick run to Williamsburg to spend time with some of my family,

followed by a brief stop in Richmond on the way back home.

8 weekends in a row of travel, with work in between, and suddenly blog posts take a back seat.  As much as I have loved all the road trips, some of which I didn’t include here, I was grateful to be home this past weekend.  Why?  So I might be able to plan the BIG TRIP:

New Zealand and Australia!!

I am the luckiest gal to be leaving in just 12 days for the Southern Hemisphere!  Even better, I’ll be spending time with dear blogging friends: Pauline from The Contented Crafter, (and her awesome daughters), Alys from Gardening Nirvana, and Boomdee from Boodeeadda.

I anticipate lots of laughter and love, good food and drink, gorgeous scenery and many, many photo ops.  I’ll be traveling on foot, and by car, plane, train and hopefully motorcycle, and I simply cannot wait to share it with all of you!