cocktail hour on the mossy patio

Sunday, August 30:  I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve invited you over for a cocktail hour.  I’m so happy to see you!  It’s taken me a long while to get settled in back home here in Virginia.  Please come in and help yourself to a drink. I have some Bud Light Lime, which Mike calls a fake beer but I find cool and refreshing in the summer heat, and some Montes Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you prefer a cool glass of white wine, I have some La Granja verdejo viura, a Spanish wine I picked up at Trader Joe’s.  Though the weather’s warm (88 F today), we haven’t had humidity all week, so it’s quite pleasant outside this evening.  We’ll have a seat on my patio, covered in moss as it as, as there really is nowhere else to sit outside.

me on the moss-covered patio
me on the moss-covered patio

Our house here in Oakton is rather a mess, so I apologize.  Our kitchen and deck badly need replacing, and we’ll be embarking on a major construction project soon to redo the kitchen, possibly knocking down the wall between our family room and kitchen.  We’ll also tear down the deck and replace it with a screened-in porch, and change our laundry room into a mudroom/pantry/laundry room.  Because of this, the only good place I have for us to sit outdoors is on our patio, which is also in a state of disrepair and is covered in that moss.  It’s Virginia, after all, a state prone to damp summers and wild foliage growth, so the moss taking over our patio isn’t a total surprise.

Mike suggested I have the cocktail hour on the patio, and he quipped, “Unlike our mossy patio, no moss will grow on this rolling stone” (meaning me).  He is endlessly patient with me and my restlessness and my wanderings. I don’t know why he puts up with it; maybe he enjoys having a break from me after going on 27 years of marriage (with a 7 year break ending in 2013). 🙂  Anyway, he’s joining us tonight, so you can ask him yourself!

Please, tell me all about you.  Have you been enjoying the last bits of summer?  Have you traveled to exotic lands or had a staycation?  Have you gone to any outdoor concerts or plays?  Have you seen your children off to conquer new challenges?  Have you been on any retreats?  Have you seen any good movies or read any page-turners?  Have you eaten at any good restaurants or cooked anything wonderful at home?  Have you harvested fresh vegetables from your garden?  Have you been to the beach, or gone swimming in a lake?  Have you been exercising and eating healthy? Have you been on any shopping sprees?

The one thing I have done most religiously since I returned home is to exercise every day.  I started out walking every day for 3 miles.  I’ve only missed two days since I returned home, so I’m quite proud of myself.  I gained 7 pounds when I was in China, and I was already heavier than I would have liked BEFORE I left for China.  Thus, I have been keeping track of my calories and exercise on my fitness pal, and so far I’ve lost the 7 pounds I gained in China and am working on losing more. Here’s a chart of my weight loss, which mistakenly states that I started at 150 lbs.  My actual weight when I returned from China and California (where I went a little crazy with American food!) was 152.2.  As of today, I’m at 144.8.  I’m really hoping to stick it out and get down to 135!!

Slowly but surely chipping away!
Slowly but surely chipping away!

A couple of weeks ago, I started going to Oak Marr RECenter twice a week to work out with weights.  Last week, I started going to a Zumba class.  I’m so hopelessly uncoordinated, but it’s a great workout and lots of fun! I sweat like crazy for an hour, so it must be doing some good.  I don’t feel so bad about being uncoordinated as there are a bunch of Korean and Japanese ladies in the class who seem almost as uncoordinated as I am.  I’m not going to let it bother me that I can’t get the steps right; I’m just going to enjoy it and poke fun at myself for my hopeless inability to keep up!

While I was in China, I had set up an appointment with a GI for August 3 because I had been so sick in China all year. However, as soon as I got home, all my stomach problems mysteriously disappeared. Hmm.  Since the appointment had already been set up, I went in to see the doctor anyway.  He was baffled as to why I had come in, and he told me to keep eating healthy and exercising and I would probably continue to feel fine.

I helped Alex, my oldest son, move to Richmond at the end of July.  He’s now attending Virginia Commonwealth University, where he hopes to get a degree in Exercise Science.  His sister, Sarah, already lives in Richmond and should finally finish her degree in English at the end of the fall semester.  Here is Alex’s new house and him in his room with his sister. Sorry the pictures are a little blurry, but my camera has been acting up.  I will need to be looking for a new camera sometime soon, possibly by my birthday on October 25. This will be my 60th.  Ouch. 🙂

Alex's new abode in Richmond
Alex’s new abode in Richmond
Alex's room
Alex’s room
Sarah and Alex in his new room
Sarah and Alex in his new room

Other than exercising, I’ve been working on a 5-hour free grammar course (more like 10+ hours!) and a pre-task for the course I’m taking beginning September 21 at Teaching House, which runs the University of Cambridge CELTA (the Certificate in English Language Teaching), the most widely accepted TESOL program in the world.  It’s a month-long highly intensive course. I think I won’t have a life during that month, or in the coming weeks, as I prepare for the course.

I was surprised on Thursday, August 6, to get a text message from one of my Chinese students, Christine.  She wrote that she was on a train from New York to Washington with her mother and they hoped to take me out to dinner in Washington.  It turned out that Mike and I trekked downtown and took Christine and her mother to the Lincoln Restaurant.  Christine’s English is not bad, and her mother could understand and speak limited English.  When the server tried to explain the complex dishes, such a far stretch from Chinese dishes, Christine said immediately that all she wanted was meat.  She ordered the plate of BBQ ribs, and we had to demonstrate how she should eat them! The plate was almost as big as she is.  Neither she nor her mother had any interest in the small plates Mike and I ordered: Ricotta gnocchi, Shrimp & Grits, and the Pennsylvania Chicken Pot Pie.  When the waitress put the Shishito Pepper Hush Puppies on the table, Christine asked tentatively: “Is that dog meat?” We were taken aback momentarily by her misunderstanding of the word “puppies,” and we all got quite a laugh out of it. 🙂

Christine, me, and her mom, Li
Christine, me, and her mom, Li
Li, Christine and Mike
Li, Christine and Mike
Me with Mike
Me with Mike

Our dinner with Christine was on Friday, August 7, and on Sunday, the 9th, Mike and I went downtown to Arena Stage to see the emotionally moving musical, Dear Evan Hansen. The play explores how far we’ll go to fulfill our need for connection.  According to the playbill: “In our social media world where ‘friend’ is now a verb, and we only share the highlights of our life, what happens when we reveal our true thoughts and feelings?”  The sets were wonderfully done, with columns displaying Tweets and Facebook posts and rotating sets of Evan’s bedroom and the living room of a family whose son committed suicide.  The opening number of the play brought tears to my eyes, as I know how isolating our digitally connected society is for young people, and frankly, for all of us.  It was a phenomenal performance.

The following weekend, August 14-16, I went to Richmond to have dinner with Sarah and Alex at a Greek restaurant called Stella’s and then drove from there to Monterey in southwestern Virginia, where I attended a women’s mid-life retreat organized by Annette of Beauty Along the Road. I stayed two nights at the Laurel Point Bed & Breakfast, a lovely place overlooking the mountains in Monterey.

Before attending the workshop, we were asked to take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths quiz on the University of Pennsylvania: Authentic Happiness Questionnaire Center.  It seems anyone can take this quiz, so you might try it yourself.  I found after taking the quiz that these were my top five strengths:

  1. Curiosity and interest in the world
  2. Love of learning
  3. Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  4. Fairness, Equity and Justice
  5. Humor and playfulness

We did a lot of interesting activities on the retreat, including making a timeline collage of our lives.  Here’s mine:

My timeline collage
My timeline collage

We also brainstormed as a group the issues women face in mid-life; we wrote a letter to someone who we feel has held us down in our lives and then we burned that letter; we did individual brainstorms in answer to the question: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? We also visualized what our life what will be like in 5 years and then we created a plan of action for the next year to achieve that goal.

To make ourselves accountable, we were asked to declare our intention. My intention is to have my novel published in one year, by August 16, 2016.  Here are the steps with a timeline to reach that goal:

  1. Research agents at the library and online and from books I like.
  2. Find at least 10 agents by August 31 and note what each agent requires: query letter, synopsis, number of pages/word count, format of 1st 50 pages or first 3 chapters.
  3. Finalize my query letter by September 20.
  4. Write my synopsis by October 31.
  5. Send out whatever is required to 10 agents by November 30.
  6. Repeat the process and find 10 more agents.  Sent next 10 queries to agents by January 31, 2016.
  7. Continue to repeat this process.
  8. If I can’t get anywhere, look into self-publishing.

Next we had to list the obstacles we might encounter.  Mine are:

  1. My word count is 107,000 and most agents won’t look at a novel over 100,000 words.
  2. My query letter needs work.
  3. I haven’t written a synopsis.
  4. I may need to edit the novel again.
  5. Procrastination.
  6. Lack of knowledge of the proper steps to take.

We also had to list some allies who might be able to help us achieve our goals.

At the end of the retreat, we each took a seat in a special chair while everyone said words about us that were recorded by a group member.  Here are the kind words that people said about me.  I was humbled and flattered by the whole process and will keep these words with me to look at whenever I get discouraged.

The final wrap-up
The final wrap-up

The retreat was a wonderful experience.  I learned a lot about myself and the issues other women are struggling with.  I hope I can stay on track with my big goal despite the time commitment of my upcoming CELTA course. I’ll be reflecting often on what I learned at that retreat. I highly recommend it for other women in the area.

Other than my constant exercising, household chores, de-cluttering, moving my kids out and onward, and attending the retreat, I’ve also seen some interesting movies in theaters, including A Borrowed Identity, Trainwreck, Samba, The End of the Tour, Phoenix, Ricki and the Flash, and Mr. Holmes. You can see I’ve been busy making up for the time I lost in China! I’ve also watched the last season of Last Tango in Halifax and have gotten involved in the Danish political series, Borgen. I’ve also been watching some of the series Rectify.

As for books, I’ve read I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum and Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen, both of which I loved!  I’m now reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, which I’m also enjoying immensely. 🙂

I’ve eaten at Lebanese Taverna, Cafesano (Italian), Saba’ Yemeni Restaurant and Guapo’s (Mexican).  I’ve been shopping for healthy foods at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and trying to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and watching my portion sizes. Other than an occasional treat of cheese and chili rellenos, I’ve been pretty self-disciplined!

Most of my friends know how I love to shop. I’ve been on a few shopping sprees mostly to buy various types of jeans and some cute tops, and even a kimono wrap thingy. I hardly wore jeans at all in Oman or China because it was just too hot, and I realized I didn’t have any that fit me.  So, yes, I’ve done a little shopping and I’ve probably gone a bit overboard.  Here’s me at some of my recent weights and wearing some of my cute purchases.  I do love fashion, but it sure helps if you’re tall and thin, neither of which I am!

As for reverse culture shock, I haven’t experienced it as much this time as the first two times I returned home from abroad. The main reason is that I’ve let go of all expectations.  I don’t expect any friends to contact me, and slowly but surely, I’ll make an effort to contact those people I’d like to see. I find myself weaning out my list of friends each time I return as I don’t feel like bothering to contact people who never make any effort with me.   After all, what’s the point?  There are people I love and care for: people who don’t judge me and people who make me laugh and people with whom I have a shared history; those people will continue to be part of my life.  As for anyone new I meet, I’ll be happy to share my life with them if they’re interested in doing so!

I’m so happy that you joined me tonight for cocktail hour on the mossy patio. I hope you feel relaxed, even though you had to listen to a lot from me!  I can’t wait to hear about what you’ve been up to; hopefully it’s something that has brought you laughter, peace, tranquility, and even adventure.  I’ll try to have a cocktail hour more frequently, so we don’t have quite so much to catch up on.  Please, do come back and join me again!

Hugs to each of you! 🙂

 

 

Advertisements

leaving monterey

Monday, October 14:  This morning, I have coffee and some Apple Scrapple from Great Harvest Bread that I brought as a gift for Annette and Dan.  I guess it’s pretty bad when you bring a gift for someone and then you end up eating a lot of it!  I enjoy our chat.  I’ve learned a lot about their lives and their farm, the Allegheny Mountain School that I’ll recommend to my son Adam, their own Permaculture certifications and yoga training, and the lifestyle they’ve chosen.

Welcome to Monterey, and farewell!
Welcome to Monterey, and farewell!

After breakfast, I take off to drive back to northern Virginia, leaving the pretty fog-sprinkled Allegheny Mountains behind, and crossing over the Shenandoah Mountains.

Outside of Monterey, VA
Outside of Monterey, VA
barn with silo near Monterey
barn with silo near Monterey
leaving Monterey
leaving Monterey
a creek in the mountains
a creek in the mountains
a creek in the Allegheny Mountains
a creek in the Allegheny Mountains
barn in the valley
barn in the valley
in the Shenandoah Mountains
in the Shenandoah Mountains
interesting ground and tree cover in the Shenandoah Mountains
interesting ground and tree cover in the Shenandoah Mountains
foggy Shenandoah
foggy Shenandoah

I arrive home with one day left of my four-day weekend, and I spend the next day working for over 3 hours, entering Midterm marks for my students.  This job is eating me alive!

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

the dodge power wagon brigade in monterey

Sunday, October 13:  While driving the circuitous roads of Highland County, following the maps Annette drew for me this morning, I come to a four-way-stop. Entering the intersection from the road to my right is a lineup of old Dodge Power Wagons heading into Monterey.  As I turn left toward Bluegrass, I can see in my rearview mirror the trucks are turning right toward Monterey.  In the fog out in the midst of the countryside, the scene looks like one straight out of 1950s movie.  I’m thinking Bonnie and Clyde and Grapes of Wrath, however, my thoughts are misguided as those movies took place in the 1930s. 🙂

I debate whether I should turn around and follow them, but I figure they are heading to Monterey for the Hands & Harvest Fall Foliage Festival.  I will see them after I do my loop through Bluegrass and return to the town.I am right.  When I return to Monterey, there they are all lined up on Main Street.

The Dodge Power Wagon is a four-wheel drive light truck produced from 1945-1980. This early version was based on Dodge 3/4-ton military trucks produced during World War II and was the first to be offered to the civilian population.  (Wikipedia; Dodge Power Wagon)

Some of the trucks are all spiffied up, the others seem to be in their original condition.  I never see the drivers of the cars, as they are probably out being festive in the town.

Dodge Power Wagon at the Monterey Crafts Festival
Dodge Power Wagon at the Monterey Hearts & Harvest Fall Foliage Festival
Dodge Power Wagon
Dodge Power Wagon
Dodge Power Wagon
Dodge Power Wagon
Dodge Power Wagon
Dodge Power Wagon
a line up
a line up
older version
older version
head on
head on

More fun times in Monterey. 🙂

a foggy sunday in highland county

Sunday, October 13:  I start my first morning in Highland County with unease.  I am a person who rarely dreams, or at least I never remember my dreams, so to have two quite disturbing ones in two nights tells me something is really upsetting me.  This time, in my dream, I went to my class with all the cheating Saudis and there were a lot of strangers in the class, along with my regular students.  I kept telling them to please leave my class.  These interlopers left at my request, but as soon as I turned my back, other strangers mysteriously appeared.  I couldn’t get rid of them; they kept multiplying like mosquitoes on a summer day.  Finally, I asked, what are you doing in here?  I saw they each had a small pad of paper, and were questioning my students about every complaint they had about me and taking notes.  It was like a sting operation in my classroom.

starting out on a foggy day
starting out on a foggy day
rustic building in Highland County
rustic building in Highland County
cows in the pastures on a foggy day
cows in the pastures on a foggy day
farmland
farmland

It’s so strange.  I’ve never had any students complain about me as a teacher.  Granted, I’ve only been teaching since I went to Korea in March 2010, so it hasn’t been a long career for me.  I taught English at Bethel High School in Hampton, Virginia right after graduating from the College of William and Mary in December 1978, but I only lasted one semester.  I had huge discipline problems; I even had one fat black girl knock me down!  I hated teaching so much, especially because of the amount of work involved for the pay I received, and because of the classroom management and discipline issues, that I finished that semester and swore I would never teach again.

an old barn
an old barn
fall foliage
fall foliage
another barn
another barn
farmhouse
farmhouse

I kept my word all these years, until 2010.  But after getting my Master’s in International Commerce and Policy in May of 2008 (another useless degree to add to my already useless B.A. in English), I applied for 250 jobs; I only got 5 interviews and no job. I believe to this day my inability to get a job in the low-paying field of international development is because of my age, and because I was a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. When no one in the U.S. would hire me, at least Korea did, and then Oman followed.  I resorted to teaching again, though I still had a bad taste in my mouth even 32 years after my high school teaching experience.

Beulah Presbyterian Church
Beulah Presbyterian Church
Church services only every other Sunday!
Church services only every other Sunday!
a creek by the church
a creek by the church
friendly horses
friendly horses

In Korea, I taught little children, and though they were rowdy, they weren’t rude; neither did they have a sense of entitlement.  In Oman, the girls I taught were problematic, because they were immature and not serious students.  They were always talking in class, and cheating was an issue.  However, even though I called them on these issues many times, they never complained about me to the administration.  It often happened at the University that students would go in mass to complain about a teacher, and that teacher often didn’t get his or her contract renewed.  In the Gulf, students have great clout, and teachers are not respected.  The administration does not back up the teachers.

another barn
another barn
farmland in Highland County
farmland in Highland County
ponds and pastures
ponds and pastures
ponds and pastures
ponds and pastures

So here these Saudis are in America, and acting in the same irresponsible and entitled way, and thinking they can get away with what they do in their own country.  Frankly, it makes me sick.  I have come to realize I genuinely dislike these students, and thus it is time for me to get out of teaching.  At least as long as the makeup of my classes is mostly Saudi Arabians,  I just can’t do it any more.  An abysmal paycheck doesn’t compensate me for putting up with these students or for the amount of work I have to do outside of class in preparation, marking and administrative tasks.

bales of hay in green pastures
bales of hay in green pastures
bales of hay in green
bales of hay in green
farmland in Highland County
farmland in Highland County
farmland and fall foliage
farmland and fall foliage

I’ve decided that I will cut back to maybe one class next semester; I’ll spend the rest of my time looking for another job, finishing my novel, and writing travel essays.  I’m not sure what else I will do, but I must get out of teaching for so little pay.  Because of the demands of my job, I barely have a moment to myself to do the things I love.  Whatever job I have, I want to leave it behind when I go home, so I can devote my free time to my passions.

rolling hills and colorful trees
rolling hills and colorful trees
fences
fences
farmland
farmland
cute little cows
cute little cows

The things I love are these: photography, writing and traveling.  I need to find a way to live my passion.  It’s taken me a long time to even find my passion, and now that I’ve found it, I want to live it.

farms
farms
fog
fog
foliage
foliage
farmhouse
farmhouse
farmhouse
farmhouse

So here, in Highland County, I start off the day having coffee and breakfast with Annette and Dan in their home.  Annette doesn’t feel like going out on a photography excursion because of the dreary day; I’m not thrilled about the weather either, but I’m only here for a day, so it’s either now or at some distant future date.  So, I take a drive all over Highland County, following a map Annette has drawn for me, and explore the mountains and the farmland.

I drive along Bluegrass Valley Road and through the town of Bluegrass.

fall foliage along Bluegrass Mountain Road
fall foliage along Bluegrass Valley Road
an old building in Bluegrass
an old building in Bluegrass

I stop at the Ginseng Mountain Store, where the owner gives me sample of grass-fed lamb and shows me the little apartment they rent for $99 for two people.  It has a full kitchen, nice bathroom and screened-in porch.

Ginseng Mountain Store
Ginseng Mountain Store
Ginseng Mountain Store
Ginseng Mountain Store

I stop in Monterey for lunch at Mountain Hideaway Restaurant and Tavern, where I eat a huge plate of nachos.  The place doesn’t have much in the way of atmosphere, but I am starving, and the food serves its purpose. 🙂

nachos
nachos

In Monterey, I find some houses are already decked out for Halloween.

decked out for Halloween in Monterey
decked out for Halloween in Monterey
monsters and ghouls
monsters and ghouls, pumpkins & spiders
the church at the main intersection in Monterey
the church at the main intersection in Monterey

I make multiple stops along the road to take pictures.  Often there is no place to pull over along the two-lane roads, so I look in both directions as far as I can see, and if I can’t see any cars, I hop out of the car to take pictures, leaving my car running in the middle of the road. The fall colors are beautiful, and I think the fog makes the photos atmospheric.  Not quite what I wished for, but here’s my day, in all its foggy glory.

a barn being a barn
a barn being a barn
greener pastures
green pastures
barn and silo
barn and silo
a friendly dog along the road
a friendly dog along the road
another barn being a barn
another barn being a barn
fall foliage and farmland
fall foliage and farmland
farmhouse
farmhouse
green pastures
green pastures
another farmhouse
another farmhouse

After all this driving, I head south to the Homestead at Hot Springs.  More to follow…

earthquake dreams and an escape to monterey

Saturday, October 12:  So, what explains my dream of last night, the dream where I looked out the window of my ranch-style house to see the earth convulsing violently back and forth?  Inside the house, I didn’t feel the earthquake.  But.  I knew it was an earthquake nonetheless.

Out the window, after the earthquake, I saw the red rock on which our foundation was built had fallen away, and we were surrounded by sheer drop-offs into deep terra-cotta canyons.  Under half the house, the rock had sheared off, so the house was balanced precariously at the top of the cliff.  Out the window, I could see orange, yellow and green-colored houses and red rooftops and somehow I thought we were in Lisbon, but no, despite the colors of the houses, it was insistently San Francisco.   Sarah, my now 29-year-old daughter, was only a small girl, maybe 5 or 6.  She didn’t seem particularly unnerved by the earthquake.  Mike was cool-headed as always.  It was just the three of us, a cobbled-together family.

Urgent radio messages told us to evacuate, to leave the San Francisco Bay area in the next 30 minutes.  I couldn’t make the simplest decisions about what to take.  I was afraid to move around in the house for fear it would topple off the cliff.  We decided we would stick it out, rather than be trapped in huge traffic jams trying to flee the city.

Nothing was resolved, but when I woke up, it took me a long while to realize that it never happened, that it was all a dream.

Click on any of the images below for a full-sized slideshow of the rainy Waynesboro 2013 Fall Foliage Festival.

So what would Freud say?  What is the meaning of this dream?  Was it that I just left Lisbon at the end of July, and while there I kept hearing of the 1755 earthquake that razed much of the city and surrounds?  Was it that my son just left San Francisco on Saturday morning and headed to LA, where he’s trying to find his passion?  Was it the fact that I hate my new job, teaching mostly Saudi students who are immature, lazy, entitled and out of control?  Was it the fact that I caught almost half of my class cheating last week and after telling them of my suspicions, they went in mass to complain about me (typical behavior in the Gulf)?  Was it the fear I’ve felt over the last two months that I might have cancer, followed by relief when I heard this week that I just have pre-cancerous cells which must be removed next Friday?  Was it that I just bought a ticket to California for early January, to visit a friend near San Francisco and my sister and another friend near L.A.?   Was it the fact that I’m struggling with family issues, especially regarding my children, who are struggling themselves?

peak in George Washington National Forest
peak in George Washington National Forest

I think dreams tell everything that is happening in our lives, in one fell swoop, thrown together in one indecipherable mishmash.  Maybe there is no meaning.  But maybe the meaning is that it’s time for a change.  Even the leaves know this.

Fall foliage in Monterey, Virginia
Fall foliage in Monterey, Virginia

I have to give this a lot of thought, because I can’t live a life where I’m paid peanuts to give up every waking minute to a job I hate.  I just can’t do it.  I’ll go off the deep end, or I’ll just give myself over to falling off that cliff.  Maybe that’s why in the dream, I’m wracked with indecision, and why I’m incapable of moving in any direction.

Click on any picture below to see pictures of Monterey’s Hands & Harvest Fall Foliage Festival.

“Fate is how your life unfolds when you let fear determine your choices. A path of destiny reveals itself to you, however, when you confront your fear and make conscious choices.”

– Caroline Myss

I’m shaken by this dream, and by my week, but I’ve made a plan to visit Annette Naber of The Beauty Along the Road for 3 days out of my 4-day Columbus Day holiday.  She lives in Highland County, almost to the West Virginia border, about an hour west of Staunton.  It’s an escape I’ve been looking forward to.  So I leave at about 10:00 this morning and by 1:00, I’m sitting across from Annette at Stone Soup in Waynesboro, where we have lunch, visit the little Fall Foliage Festival in the drizzle, and then drive together over the mountains to her home.

rainbow
rainbow

It’s a rainy day in Waynesboro.  In Monterey, the rain tapers off a bit, leaving wisps of clouds nestled in the folds of mountains.  I even catch sight of a faded rainbow, promising hope, and tranquility.

rainbow Monterey
rainbow in Monterey
Monterey mountains
Monterey mountains

Your ability to get what you want is entirely dependent on your ability to recognize it — so ask yourself some tough questions and see where the answers lead. Life doesn’t have to be the same forever! ~ Scorpio’s horoscope for today.

Fall foliage in Montery
Fall foliage in Montery
some leaves are already gone
some leaves are already gone
rolling hills
rolling hills

A much-needed retreat.  I give thanks from the bottom of my heart to Annette and her husband Dan for inviting me to their home for a lovely escape from the drudgery of my life.

Fall in Monterey
Fall in Monterey
little pretties
little pretties
cloudy day
cloudy day
grasses and clouds
grasses and clouds
hay bales and a blanket of sunlight
hay bales and a blanket of sunlight
a tree of many branches > infinite possibilities?
a tree of many branches > infinite possibilities?
bright fall foliage
bright fall foliage
red leaves
red leaves
oak leaves
oak leaves
pines
pines