Holiday in Atlanta

As I sit here on New Years Eve, enjoying a wee dram (or two) of single malt whiskey and writing this blog post, I think how differently I now spend the final hours of the year. Between the fullness of life and an overly packed schedule, it is a joy to spend a quieter evening at home, catching up, relaxing, and oh yes, watching college football.  Whereas I used to stay up until midnight, I am now content to meet with friends on New Years Day.

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The past three years have found me recovering from a motorcycle wreck, running for state delegate, starting a new business, and just two months ago, starting another.  Even my time on WP the past few months has been limited.  No wonder I’m content to be still.

Many people will ponder 2016, and put into beautiful words what the year has meant.  Others will plan for the coming year and all that they hope to accomplish.  Me?  I’m about a week behind and am still glowing after a wonderful 48 hour trip to Atlanta to see my son and his family.

We enjoyed an incredible tapas style Christmas Eve meal at the Iberian Pig. Oh my goodness, the food and drinks were incredible!  This was our effort to take a selfie afterwards.

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I awoke the next morning to this lovely site.  What is it about a lighted tree that brings such a sense of peace?

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We spent the day opening gifts, enjoying our traditional breakfast souffle and Bloody Marys, and playing games.  My granddogs, Wilson and Tela, were never far from the action, or the food.

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Oh my gosh, I love these dogs!

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 The cheese plate was almost to pretty to eat.

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Another family tradition is the Cracker, and I was glad to have it continue in Atlanta.

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What a joyful visit!

On a personal level this coming year, I’d like to think that I will make an effort to volunteer a little less (doubtful) and exercise a little more (probable).  I also hope to spend more time with family and friends, and of course with my camera, and riding the bike.

What I definitely know is that I will do all that I can to join the resistance against bigotry, misogyny, racism, and hatred.

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Despite the fact that national and international politics have me entering 2017 with caution, I do know that there is much good in this world and I believe that goodness WILL prevail.

Welcome to 2017!  Thank you for the light you bring to my life, and for your friendships.

Crackers: A Family Tradition

This re-blogged post is about a beloved family tradition, and as you read this, I am traveling to Williamsburg to spend a few days with the whole fam damily (thanks Jan for that fun description!).  Not a day goes by that I do not reflect upon the fact that I am fortunate to have such a great family, and the most amazing parents.

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Life on the Bike and other Fab Things

For as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated the holidays with Crackers.  They adorn the table, and ultimately our heads, for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  While crackers have become all the rage these past few years, my family has been celebrating with them for decades.

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According to Wikipedia, crackers are part of Christmas celebrations primarily in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, NewZealand, and South Africa. 

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So how did my American family come to embrace the Cracker?  My Grandfather hailed from the Isle of Wight, and I am quite sure that he and my Aunt Christine brought the tradition to us.

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The Cracker was created in 1847 by Tom Smith ( http://www.tomsmithchristmascrackers.com/ ).  In its simplest form, a cracker is a small cardboard tube covered in a brightly colored twist of paper. When the cracker is pulled apart, a chemically treated card strip, similar to that…

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Fashions for Evergreens

For the past 9 years, the Inn at Virginia Tech has hosted Fashions for Evergreens, a Christmas Tree competition.  Established in 2006, the event enourages local businesses and organizations to come up with a theme, and create a professional, designer quality Christmas tree.  The trees are on display throughout the holiday season, and members of the public get to vote for their favorite tree.

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After enjoying a Raspberry Martini at the Continental Divide Lounge, my friends and I took a tour of the trees.

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The atmosphere was magical, filled with light and color.

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Prices Fork Elementary School’s theme was a Merry Mocha Christmas

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The Virginia Quilt Museum went with a blue theme

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Matt Hagan Outdoors celebrated outdoor sports

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The Linus Project, an organization that hand makes blankets for critically ill children, adorned their entry with blankets

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Radford Health and Rehab decorated their beautiful tree with photos of residents in their younger days

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Sew Biz covered their tree with hand crafted ornaments

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What a fun evening, and we definitely felt the magic of the season.

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Before I close, let me tell you just a little bit about the Inn.  Located on the campus of Virginia Tech, The Inn is designed in the Collegiate Gothic style and like the other buildings on campus, is made with Hokie Stone.

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Hokie Stone is dolomite, a mineral found in the Appalachian Mountains (pronounced Ap – uh – latch – uhn) and is prevalent in Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama.  Virginia Tech’s quarry operations produce some 50 tons of Hokie Stone per week, or about 2,500 tons per year.  Individual stonemasons shape about a ton of stone a day

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Hope you’ve found time to enjoy the magic of the season!

Peaceful

The days after Christmas are some of my favorite.  The hustle and bustle have settled down, yet the lights and tree are still up.

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So while I get back into the routine of work, after a 4 day weekend, I have the pleasure of coming home to lights, still softly shining in my home.

(after hitting publish, I found out that this post is my 400th!)

Chrome for the Holidays

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Clever title, eh?  Since the bike has been absent from the blog for several weeks, I decided it should be front and center for Christmas.

May your holiday be full of laughter and joy, and find you surrounded by the love of family and friends.

As we open our hearts and arms to those in need, may our roads be dry, our travels safe, and our adventures abundant.

Peace to you, my blogging friends, no matter what holiday you celebrate.

Kindness in the WordPress World

The great wide world of WordPress is filled with talented, creative people.

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Some put words to paper that inspire me, make me think, and bring a tear to the eye.  Others fill my screen with photographic images that are so visionary and incredible that I exclaim out loud.  History and humor are found here, too, as are recipes, travel tips, gardening ideas, and of course, motorcycles!

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And then there are the crafty ones.

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The ones who spend hours using their creative spirits and their hands to make items that have the rest of us wondering how they do it.  The quilters, painters, scrapbookers, knitters, crocheters, candymakers, and artists of every sort.

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Since beginning my blogging journey with WP, I’ve been blessed to be the recipient of valuable friendships, and gifts of photography, handmade cards, folded books, t-shirts, and most recently a chrocheted bunting, which arrived all the way from Australia!  Incredible! How on earth did Dani from Teddy and Tottie find the time to make so many festive buntings and then to mail them to friends all over the world?

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 How did she know that, because of family, work, and civic commitments, I have not yet put even one Christmas decoration out?  How did she know that her gift of time and kindness would be so welcome in my home.

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Thank you, Dani.  You are, in addition to being talented, a kind and generous woman.

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These gifts, and the people who make them, inspire me to up my game!  I frequently read blog updates where one blogger is sending gifts to another.  Their planning and organization is impressive; the generosity incredible. You all know who you are.

You inspire me.