NoVa 4 NYE

Yesterday mama and I drove up from Chattanooga to Fairfax County – we had Second Christmas last night (hmm – I have to rearrange my countertop again. What IS it with my sister and small appliances? Not that I’m not grateful for a new coffee maker, but there was something nice and compact about burr grinder + french press. Oh well – easier clean up now and 10 cups!).

I have discovered the perfect lazy uncle’s way to buy Christmas gifts other than cash or boring gift cards. I buy a few little things for everyone (a Fear the Beard thermal mug for my nephew Mitchell, for instance) then offer to buy them up to $50 of whatever they want at whatever store they like (Target, sporting goods, or the mall). I try to make it separate trips, so it makes for a fun morning or afternoon with each of them.

Time for some museums (I hope to drag the nephs and nieces to the Philips), some big NYE celebration, and some assorted family time.

Wow – I have to pack a tie

I’m going home to Chattanooga for the holidays and I have to take a tie.

Why is that unusual? Well, for 20 years or so I never took a tie to Chattanooga – I counted on my father’s collection, and often took the ties back home with me. But now I have all of Daddy’s ties – the John Tinkler Neckwear Collection (there are actually some cravats in there, too!).

So, I have to pack a couple of ties to visit Mama.

File it under Life Stages.

Travel day

After European Studies 101: Geneva to Chattanooga for midterm break and Elderly Parent Patrol! I’ll also get to go to a family reunion for a branch of the tree I haven’t seen this way since I left Atlanta. The Crawfords used to have a pool party at the 4th of July, but about the time I moved up here they started having the annual reunion in the fall – and seldom on the same weekend as my midterm break. So, Mama and I are off to North Alabama tomorrow.

Travel day(s)

Yesterday was a planned travel day – Rochester to Chattanooga the long way. Today I hadn’t anticipated. Mother and I are headed down to North Alabama this afternoon for a family reunion tomorrow (I thought it was going to be a Sunday day trip). So no getting used to a bed yet, but I will get to have a meal or two with an aunt and uncle I haven’t seen much of for a long time.

Surface water

Though the next few days look to be lovely, there has been a LOT of rain in Upstate New York lately. Even when it’s not raining the ground is pretty squishy – good thing reunion was last week! I’ve made a mental note to try to round up some folks to go to Taughannock Falls sometime in June. After a few disappointing, downright trickly summers the big waterfall should be running well

All Packed. Ready to Go. The problem? It’s 5:18 a.m.

All packed. Ready to go. The problem? It’s 5:18 a.m. and the car service isn’t coming until 8. I’m getting worse and worse about sleeping before big travel days (even domestic travel). I had a truly horrific dream that woke me at 4:30 (late for my sister’s wedding!) and I didn’t get back to sleep. Grrr. Oh, well – travel day, and I’ll be back to Upstate New York this evening and sleeping in my own bed!

Back from Milano with a few hundred pictures to sort

We had three fun-filled days in Milano and got back last night around 9 pm. I’m still tired!

Probably the best thing for me was the contemporary art fair – MiArt. But I have been to Milan before, so I was mainly revisiting (though I spent more time in San Lorenzo than before – pictures to follow!).


A childhood friend who now lives in England is visiting Rome this week with her family. I met up with them yesterday afternoon; we took a walk, looked at some things, then had a long and splendid lunch. Very pleasant! Somehow, we took no pictures.

Things are looking up . . .

Flower 1


I’m feeling much better – I had a cold (I wish I could blame the tour of the Fori Imperiali, but I have spent too much time walking in the rain this semester to believe that!). Lots of sleep helped. And Friday I wore sunglasses for the first time this semester; not that there haven’t been some days when I could have used them, but I had gotten out of the habit of shoving the case into my bag. Yesterday my hyacinth (I guess) bloomed, too – one of those little things that makes a rental apartment in Rome feel like home.

Flower 2