Saturday, October 20, 2012

In a Teeny Tiny Town

So last week I actually did "take the road less traveled." I was on my way home from my favorite quilt store "Web Fabrics" in Purcellville and decided to take the smaller backroads instead of the highway I usually take.
I was a beautiful day for a drive and nestled in between Purcellville and Historic Leesburg is the tiny town of Hamilton, VA.

 Hamilton has a population of 528 and is a total of 192 acres ~ told you it was small. But it is not without merit.
Here's what I found in the Teeny Tiny Town....

 I found this great purple house all decked out for Halloween Here is a closer look at the sign   And speaking of signs, I saw this one outside the local real estate office Words to live by, doncha think?
 I also found this old Mason Lodge from 1873 It's empty now. It used to be Hamilton Lodge #37 back when Hamilton was a booming city, actually the second largest city in Loundoun county.

 Even more importantly I found more of the osage oranges I wrote about here and here. Although we no longer have spider crickets occupying the basement, I took more home just in case.
 And just so you know, it's definitely fall in Hamilton

So if this is what I find when I take the alternative route, I should do it more often and hopefully I'll always have my camera and note pad with me cause I never know what I'll find.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Experiment in Happiness

So I decided to try a little experiment on Friday.
Thursday I was watching "Katie" ie. Katie Couric show and it was about trying to find happiness or being happy. One of the things they talked about was how giving rather than getting can make you happy.
 Now I've always believed this to be true and I could always use a little happiness in my life so.... I went to my local Starbucks and bought a $20 gift card. I explained to the cashier that I would like her to use my card to pay for the next few people that came in to get coffee... But not to tell them it was me, just that someone wanted to "pay it forward."

 I sat nearby looking like I was busy working on my iPad but really listening and taking notes on what happened. I was not sure how this experiment would go. People here in north Virginia are for the most part privileged and seem to feel entitled so I was eager to see what would happen.

I went just before 11:00 am so that it wouldn't be too busy. The first couple of people that came in were all women in their 50's and 60's. It took each of them a minute to understand what was happening and it seemed to brighten their day a bit. One of them did ask "So should I do the same thing?" At first it sounded like she felt obligated but she genuinely seemed pleased.

 After them a young girl walked in. I guess she was either in her late teens or early 20's. She ordered a hot chocolate. When the cashier told her it had already been paid for she just shrugged her shoulders, took her hot chocolate and left. Ah youth! This was what I was afraid would happen.

 The next people made up for it though. It was two women (60's?)together and once they got over their disbelief they were just tickled. Immediately after them a couple came in ~ man and women maybe late 60's. They were just amazed and then asked the two previous women if they were they ones who had paid. They said "no" but the four of them stood there chatting very animatedly. From their conversation I got the idea they were thinking of doing the same thing in the future.

 So, that was my experiment. Did it make me happy? Not exactly. I would say I was pleased with the outcome. Did it make the people receiving the free coffee happy? Maybe a little. I'll tell you who it made happy .... Angela, the cashier at Starbucks. Every time she got to tell someone their order was already paid for she broke out in a tremendous grin. I think she was basically a happy person to begin with but this seemed to really make her day. So now that I think of it, making her happy did make me happy so I'd have to say my experiment was a success.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Date with FLOTUS

Okay ~ so just in case you didn't know FLOTUS is the  First Lady of the United States!

 Yes, I got to see Michelle Obama. This is not a political blog, nor will I make it one but whatever your affiliation, seeing someone in such a position I believe is always a plus.

 I subscribe to Ashburn Patch. It's a great little on line news source and I receive an email each day telling me what's going on in my community.

 Well last week, Thursday I think they posted saying that the First Lady would be speaking here in Loudoun County.

I have always admired Michelle Obama ~ and even more so after her speech at the Democratic National Convention. It was a great speech and made me like her even more

 The chance to see her speak in person was one I didn't want to pass up. Saturday I went over to the Obama campaign headquarters here in Leesburg and picked up two tickets. One for me and one for Julianne. Not only is she a fan but she is in civics this year and studying the election. A great reason, if there ever was one, to miss a couple hours of school.

Anyway... I picked Julz up from school at 1:15 and after a stop to grab a bite to eat headed to the fairgrounds arriving at 2:00. Doors opened at 2:45

There was quite a line and we waited and chatted and made friends while waiting. It was a beautiful day. Cool but not cold so hanging around was actually rather pleasant. They even handed out water bottles while you wait.
We were also lucky enough to snag some VIP tickets so once we got through security we were escorted around the large crowd right up to the front of the stage. We had a couple of people in front of us but still had a great view.
 Actually, once the speeches started the lovely couple in front of us put Julz in front of them so she really was right up front.
 Michelle was AMAZING. To hear her speak is something I will always remember. She is so passionate and so engaging. I really felt I was in the presence of someone great.
 I took tons of pics. I've only posted a few here because her face is so animated when she speaks, many of the pictures were not very flattering and trust me, she is a beautiful woman and I would not want to post anything less than flattering.
That was the good part. The bad part was that we (I and 1499 others) were crowded into a fairgrounds building with no windows and no air ~ not even fans. It got really hot and the air was really stale.
We waited almost 3 hours to hear her speak. That's 3 hrs in very crowded and way too warm conditions. Shortly after she started to speak the first person went down ~ fainted right in front of her. She did stop her speech to make sure they were okay. She spoke for almost an hour after which she started at one end of the center and went around shaking hands and meeting the people. Julz was in perfect position to be able to meet her.
See the woman in purple with blondish hair? That is Julz standing next to her. You can just see the top of her head.Michelle Obama is just a couple of people away from them. See the next pic? You can still see the woman in purple and she is next in line to meet Mrs. Obama. Now look at the next pic. You can still see her purple shirt but she is passing out, right on Julianne. Michelle Obama is right in front of her.
That's the secret service man who has now shoved my daughter out of the way ~ moving her so that Michelle Obama, after making sure the fainted woman is okay has now moved on to the person on the other side of Julianne, making NO CONTACT with my daughter.

 While we were concerned for the woman, Julz and I were so upset. She was inches from shaking her hand, and now it would not happen. Actually right after this another woman to my left also passed out (I told you it was hot and stale in there!) and this time the secret service men started shoving through the crowd, pushing my new friend Gina right into my chest (I think she may have gotten to 2nd base!) and then shoving me (very roughly I might add) out of the way. I know they are just doing their job but they are very rough and not considerate at all.

 At this point I have now lost site of Julianne and can't get to where I think she might be. Fortunately Gina found her and was able to grab her and pull her back to us. We then had to wait for Mrs. Obama to leave the fair grounds before they would let us out of the building ~ so now we have 1500 trying to push towards the doors... we did get out fairly quickly and the fresh air felt amazing. All in all it was a really good day. We also got to see Ann Holton — wife of Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Tim Kaine. She seems like such a nice person and while I need to do a bit more research on her husband it's likely he's got my vote as well.

 Another impressive candidate we actually got to meet was Kristin Cabral, Democratic candidate for Congress. I came to her attention because of the screen bag I made and brought with me just for this event. Yes, I have Obama fabric! Was there ever a doubt? Anyway we had a great chat about women in small businesses and I liked what she had to say about how she could help people just like me. You know she'll have my vote for sure. She also asked about buying one of my bags. COOL! I didn't think to get a pic of her but you can go to to see her and read all about her. If you are in Loudoun County definitely check her out!

I know Julianne and I will never forget this day!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Let Autumn Begin

So on Saturday we went to the Temple Farm Corn Maize in Leesburg, VA. And by we I mean me, Rich, Julz, Jen, Jeremy and Charlie. Nate stayed home to do homework (cough cough).

Anyway... we had a wonderful time. We, well they, bounced on a giant bouncing thingee. It may not be an actual trampoline but they definitely got some air. We, again they, played in a big ol corn pit.. The corn was really cold but silky feeling. It was kinda cool. We climbed on a giant spider web. We climbed large bales of hay. We rode inflatable horses.. with some not so successful results... Charlie's favorite was the duck races ~ pipes and water pumps. And we picked pumpkins..
We took pictures with a giant bear made out of hay bales
There were also animals (horses, cows, pigs, chickens, goats, peacocks) to feed and pet. There is a giant corn maize which we skipped. Also pumpkin cannons and air guns that shoot corn, and paintball.

There was snacks and drinks and a whole day of wonderful fun! If you are anywhere in the area, I highly recommend it. It's open through Nov 6th.  It was actually a bit chilly out and leaves are starting to change ~  fall is really in the air here.