Saturday, October 3, 2015

Presenting ... Lots of Random Stuff

Blogging is a habit.  When I do it often, which hasn't happened in quite a while, it feels natural to sit down and put together a reasonable post and get on with life afterward.  When I put it off, and get out of the habit by letting other things take my blogging time, it's not so easy to get the old juices flowing.  I'm rusty, but I'm going to give this a go ... and I'm going to catch you up on all sort of stuff that has happened here in the past few weeks.  

I will start with "Roses, Wines, and Canines," our Greyhounds Rock fundraiser gathering that was held here last Sunday.  Our weather was perfect (cloudy and mild, with a light breeze) and our guests and vendors (and volunteers) had a really great time.  We raised about $1700 for GRF to donate to The Greyhound Health Initiative ... and we are already planning ways to make things even better when we do it all again next year.

We set up a big party tent ...

... and a designated fenced play space for our guests' dogs.

Anu and Myth waited patiently in their ex-pen while we set up on Friday.

My favorite part of our events, The Blessing of the Hounds.  Can you find me in the crowd?

While I'm on the subject of Greyhounds Rock ... I have been spending at least one day per week sewing collars to keep the GRF inventory up.  Sugar Skull collars continue to be the biggest seller, and it's difficult to keep a selection of them in stock.  Last week at the fabric store, I picked up two new skull fabrics.

A view of part of our collar inventory at our table at the recent Fredericksburg Pet Expo.  See Ruby in the background?

Dorothy was helping, as I laid out fabric to cut the strips that would be turned into collars.

This new fabric reminds me of the art used for The Beatles "Yellow Submarine"

Ruby is modeling the other new pattern, which I am calling "Hearts and Roses Skulls"

I am also making fleece dog toys for the GRF store.  I have a ton of fleece in my stash, and this is a way to use part of it and clear out space in my sewing room.

Fleece toy, which sells for $10.

Maggie thinks the pile of fleece is a high-rise cat bed.

It's not been 'all work and no play' for me, not hardly.  I make time to do fun stuff, too.  A few weeks ago, my husband and I skipped out for the day and went to see the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Richmond.

It was an evening race.

Dinner is served.

Dessert, which lasted almost until the end of the race.

Post-race ceremonial burn-out by the winner.

Speaking of cars ... I have been spending some time re-learning to drive my Mustang.  Over the summer, it went to the shop and had a transmission transplant.  The car started life its life in 1966 as an automatic, and that's what it was when we bought it in 2002.  Now, thanks to the genius of my mechanic, it has a factory-correct 4-speed manual transmission and a very sporty Hurst shifter.  It has been decades since I drove a stick shift, and I was pleased to find that the muscle memory of clutch and shift is still there.  

Oooohhh ... shiny.

This new shifter is not so foreign to me anymore.

Lots of people I know go all out to decorate for Halloween.  I am not one of those people.

I got a colorful sugar skull wreath at Target for the front door ...

... and a haunted house nightlight plug in at Bath and Body Works.

Halloween and haunted houses makes me think of Poe, which brings me to my next bit of random-ness.  In May, Sharon (Goth Gardener) and I spent an evening at the monthly Unhappy Hour at the Poe Museum in downtown Richmond.  We had our picture taken in their photo booth ... and it was just posted on the museum web site earlier this week.  We were being so silly!

Photo booth photo.

Sharon took this one of me with a new friend.

September is a very busy time next door at Hartwood Winery.  My husband and I spent two Saturdays over there, harvesting grapes from the vineyard with other volunteers ... total harvest was six tons of red grapes and seven tons of white grapes ... all used to make Hartwood's wines.

Picking red Chambourcin grapes on September 13 ...

... with my husband and my sister ...

... and white Vidal grapes on September 26.

Yesterday was my birthday ... 56.  It's a number that I wear proudly.  I am what I am ... no sense in skirting the issue.  Besides, thanks to my parents and some fortunate genetics, I have never really looked my age.  That was a bit of a problem when I was younger and got carded all the time.  Now, I think of it as a blessing.

My husband's present to me was this cow that was painted by his friend Ed King.

I spent part of the day gathering and editing the photos in this post, with Dorothy chilling in my lap.

That brings us up to the present ... which is cold and rainy, as the remains of a coastal storm passes through our area.  There was concern that Hurricane Joaquin would affect us tomorrow and/or Monday, but that storm has turned eastward and should not be a factor for us at all.  My garden loves the rain that it has received (with this current storm and with a previous one last week).  Happy garden = Happy gardener.

Now it's your turn.  What have you been up to since we last 'talked'?


  1. I know, exactly what you mean about being in and out of the blog writing flow, Connie. A busy life intervenes and suddenly we are wondering, "why has it been so long since I last sat down to write?" Guilt feelings galore, and I need to remember that I blog for my pleasure and not for any self-imposed schedule or audience.

    1. I started this blog as a way for me to record what goes on around here, and to share it with friends and family. A lovely side effect has been all the strangers who come to read what I write, and the relationships that have developed as a result ... you are in that group, Jim. I have no guilt about long intervals between posts. What happens is that all the post ideas in my head get backed up and clogged, which makes it hard to think in sequence. This post was the solution to that problem. Now I'm all caught up and can continue to chug away one subject at a time ... if I can keep this momentum going.

  2. Looks like you have been a busy lady, enjoy life!

    1. Putting it all in one post like this makes it look like I'm busier than I really am. I always try to keep ample free time available to enjoy the quiet of living in the country, hang out with friends, watch sports on TV, and just BE.

  3. Clutch and shift... It's a memory that never goes away, sort of like riding a bicycle. xo Love your shiny car!

    1. Thanks! As soon as I figured out how to get the car into reverse (so I could back it out of the garage) it didn't take long get fairly proficient with the new shifter. I'm still nervous when I have to pull out from a dead stop on a hill, especially if there's a car close behind me, but it's getting better. Gotta just do it.

  4. What a busy time for you. I've been babysitting and taking care of Mom and neglecting my blog and my home! I'm going to start just two days a week babysitting and that will give me more time for other things I hope. It's rainy but I'm enjoying my time just snuggled up at home.

    1. Neglecting your blog and your home ... that sounds like what I've been doing! Snuggly rainy days are some of my favorites. Looks like we will get another one of those today.

  5. Enjoyed reading this post with all kind of things happening in your life. That greyhound day must have been fun and a happy day for all the dogs. Beautiful photos of Dorothy and Maggie, she is a real diva. Your white Vidal grapes look so nice, they must have a lovely taste. And you got a cow painting from your husband for your that. I had my birthday last Monday, dare not to say but ahum already 68, they say I don´t look that old and my behaviour haha is certainly not like that age. I´ll tell you the surprise of my husband for my birthday, we went today to a cattle show........ As I have grown up on a farm I´m still in love with cows, so this was my day. Anyway, next blog of mine will be about cows, cows and cows.
    Enjoy your life and your Ford Mustang, it´s an old beauty.

    1. When we work the harvest for the winery, I eat grapes and spit seeds and skins as I work. You are right ... sweet and delicious.

      I think your birthday surprise sounds perfect! I look forward to your cow post.

  6. LOVE your car! Although I am a fairly new follower, it's nice to read what you are up to, seems very real (unlike some blogs).

    1. Thanks, Julie. I love my car, too. :)

      Being real is all I know how to do. As I said in the birthday part of this post, I am what I am. Folks either like me or they don't. If not, I consider it to be their loss. I think it's sad when people make themselves out to be something they're not. There are so many 'cottage' or 'farmhouse' or 'Victorian' adjectives thrown at plain old tract houses, and staging done to project images that are fiction in real life. Too much work to maintain a life like that, so I don't. (I'm new over at your place, too, and I have already decided that I like it a LOT.)

  7. What a great post and it was fun to catch up with you! Loving your skull collars! I had a 1966 red stick shift Mustang and absolutely loved it.It, too, had the red interior with the white accent leather. Yours looks like it is in GREAT shape. Lucky you. I am finally back to blogging and visiting and it sure feels good! xo Diana

    1. It sounds like you and a Mustang almost exactly like mine! Mine, though, didn't start life like it is now. It was a ho-hum red car with red interior, a black top, and hub caps, and man we bought it from did this when he restored it. Custom color, Pony interior, tricked out engine compartment, headers, etc.

  8. I spotted you with Winnie! (even though I'm on the laptop and the photo is small) I'm not much into skulls, but I'm loving the new skull fabrics. Skulls are so popular, that should keep you really busy!

    Happy Belated Birthday! You wear it well!

    1. I love the idea behind sugar skulls, representing Day of the Dead. The thought that there are days during the year when the spirits of departed loved ones come back to spend time with their family on earth ... makes me smile ... and I like skulls and the bright colors. I have no problem capitalizing on the popularity to make some $$ for a good cause.

  9. What a fun, busy post. It was neat reading about what you've been up to. I spotted you, Winnie and Ruby too in the crowd. :-) I never learned how to drive a stick. Your car is a classic.

    Glad you aren't getting more rain than you can handle and that your gardens love what they've gotten.

    Have a nice Sunday and a great week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thanks! Our event last weekend was really fun.

      I had no choice but to learn to drive a stick when I was 20. I had no car of my own, and I would be driving my husband’s car with a four-speed when we married … a ’74 Nova SS, which was fast and SO much fun once I got the hang of it. He and I have always loved shiny classic cars.

      Still raining. I will have to check with the neighbor to see what’s in his rain gauge. You may be surprised to know that I don’t have one. The yard is a swamp, but we are warm and dry inside … and there’s football later today! Counting my blessings.

  10. think I'd love the coffee drink...yum! great cow...I've always wanted a cow painting, not portrait. well done on the grey hound fund raiser. Great looking car and love your new standard...didn't even know that could be done. wish the weather would clear, I'd like to take mine out for a spin.

  11. Wonderful event last weekend! We lost one of our Grey's to cancer this past Spring. So very sad and so very hard. About 6 weeks ago we brought home a new sweet one named Isabella. She comes from a long line of skittish dogs, and after 6 weeks, Friday was the first time she let me pet her. I cried. She was never abused, and is less than 2 years old. She did race in Dubuque in 5 training races, but was so scared, they knew she would never make it. Luckily we have another one also, and they have become BFFs. We are both retired, and if nothing else, we have plenty of time to let her come to trust us. She is a happy and funny dog. She never had toys, and now carries different ones with her all day long. She moves them from room to room. So funny. They are truly a blessing. Again, thank you for what you do for Greyhounds!

  12. That was enjoyable. You've been busy for sure.


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