Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts / Internationally Renowned Glass Artist Dale Chihuly / Tom Wolf Back To Blood

Artists, Blogs or Posts, D's Slide shows, D's Writing




Betsy and I recently went to the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts to see the Chihuly exhibit and have lunch for Valentine’s Day. There is so much there to see besides the extraordinary glass art works. I was particularly drawn to the Medieval and Renaissance tapestries on this visit.

And so we have photos. The weather today is cold, gray and rainy or snowy, depending on when you look at it. So let’s just try and ignore it. I went out and walked 4.5 miles while listening to Tom Wolf’s Back To Blood which was released last October and designated as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Month. Soon I am going to go to a place we had dinner a few weeks ago and order one of their sixteen inch pizzas. It was so good for days after we brought it home the first time. Widgets

I must have more. If you can’t have spring at least you can try to substitute other things for it. Although a mildly futile gesture it keeps us busy while we wait for something else to happen. And what might happen you might ask? Well, a government across the big water let the world know that it was taking a large chunk of everyone’s bank balance in Cyprus this morning. That was mildly surprising. So anything can happen at any time although I’m not betting on winning the lottery or being swallowed by a sink hole today. It’s more likely to be some small event that jerks my chain.

Why worry about it? Because I need the sun, dammit! Where did it go? And when is it coming back for more than five minutes? Fifty shades of gray sky is killing my libido and everything else that is attached to my cold, white skin. I’m no longer depressed by the desolation of winter. Now I’m mad. That may be progress in some strange way but it’s not pleasant. So I sit here boosting colors in photos and letting steam rise from my ear holes.

And also, wondering what the world would be like if a majority of the people suddenly decided that politicians should be treated like, I don’t know, maybe like minorities were treated 150 years ago. Would someone please write a book about that. And please make sure there is an audio version. Thank you. Here are the photos.


Camping At The Shenandoah River State Park In Virginia / Having Fun Outdoors In Nature

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, East Coast Travels, Meditation, More Photos, Walking And Losing Weight

This past weekend I went up to the Shenandoah River State Park with our Central Va. Trailblazer Meetup Group for some camping and hiking.  It was a pretty fun trip as most of the group went kayaking while I did some hiking and photo taking.  I wanted to focus on the things I’m trying to do right now i.e. hiking and taking photos instead of going off on another activity.  This is something I know all to well how to do (going off in another direction) and I need to get better at the core stuff.  So I hiked up a ridge overlooking the river and took some photos.  Then, while everyone was still gone, I went back to our camp and cooked some macaroni and cheese with my little alcohol stove.  At one point I made a sudden move while sitting there in front of the macaroni and something took off in the woods behind me.  It was pretty loud and fast.  It wasn’t a squirrel.  Any ideas?  I know it wasn’t a squirrel because they don’t scare so easily.  One was prancing around the camp and climbing the food poles while I threw little stones at him.  He didn’t care.  He undoubtedly had seen it all before and was more concerned about the take.

There was no mobile communication out here and after making lunch I had a couple hours before everyone returned from the kayaking.  What to do?  I just sat there and looked up at the trees.  My brain slowed down and my body sweated in the heat as the sun dodged the tree limbs and lit me up.  I thought once or twice about walking out of there, getting in the car and traveling a few miles up to Front Royal for some shopping.  But it didn’t make sense to head back to civilization after making so many preparations to leave it for a short time.  So I just gave it a rest and sat there listening to the insects and realizing in a dim way that everything around me was not only alive but aware and I could be aware too.  I’ve known how to do this since I was eight years old and spent a month or so in the hospital near the door to the next world.  I will never forget finding a very comfortable place where time seemed unimportant and every sound was an interesting moment.  Years later, I learned how to meditate and revisit this state of mind with the added benefit of a few blissful moments of spiritual realization.  It’s all there once we exit our rational routines and 9 to 5 mentalities (you can have one of those long after you retire without much effort).

There is time for all of this once we decide to do it but it is slightly scary.  What will I miss?  What’s happening at home?  People need me, dammit! (not so much).  The rational mind is always ready to pick up and return to “normal” but you can only walk that road so long before you realize it leads to deeds of necessity, perhaps, but nothing much else at all.

Later I went down to the river and crawled out into the stream trying to avoid bruises and floating after awhile in a state of wonderful relaxation.  Then I sat in a meditative posture with the water up to my neck facing the late afternoon sun and meditated for awhile.  There was a beautiful breeze and children playing in the water about a half mile away.  I was suddenly immersed in a blaze of inner peace and tranquility feeling the presence of something more important than all my mundane thoughts.

And finally I returned to the campsite as the happy group arrived from their kayaking adventure and we all settled down around a small fire to talk about whatever came to mind.  Here are some photos from the weekend.

The Squirrel And The Coming Earthquake / Spring Arrives In Virginia

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, More Photos


Spring is here today. It arrived early this morning and we are all happy here in Virginia. In honor of this event here is a picture of one of our backyard squirrels. He is enjoying the nice weather too.


Wind chimes in your yard will serenade garden creatures – squirrels, fairies and angels. ~Author Unknown


And the wind chimes are doing a great job today, putting a nice breeze to music for us all. Virginia is like this in March. It can be snowing one day and warm as summer a few days later. You never know. The seasons collide and leave us wondering “what’s next?”  Last night I dreamed about an earthquake. Hopefully this is not in our future anytime soon. Although when I told Betsy about the dream she informed me that her daughter, Stephanie, also dreamed about one a few days ago.

So I’m thinking  maybe there’s  going to be an earthquake.  Maybe that’s what this squirrel is trying to tell me. He has a concerned look on his face. Maybe he’s just trying to protect his nuts. Or, he’s preparing for the earth to shake, rattle and roll. It’s hard to tell.

Only time will tell, Mr. Squirrel. We may be sleeping with you in the backyard if things get too out of hand.


Life In Richmond, Virginia / Hollywood Cemetery / Dodging Solar Flares And Running Out Of Gas

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, More Photos, Richmond, Sports



So I dropped my Honda Accord off at the Pearson Honda Dealership for them to install a new timing belt and they offered to give me a car for the day so I wouldn’t have to sit around and wait.  I had visions of driving some sort of sports car because I’m an incurable and utterly foolish optimist.  And, once more, reality was eager and ready to remind me of the  facts of life.  A couple of us were given a ride across the street to the Enterprise Car Rental store where a young lady had me fill out one of those contracts with the tiny print and then handed over the keys to a Honda Civic with a dirty windshield.

She says, “It’s got an eighth of a tank of gas” in it.  So I’m going across town in this car and look at the gas gauge.   The red line is under the E as in Empty.  It’s almost gone.  It’s about half the size of the E.   So I call the Honda place and they tell me I should definitely get some gas.  And then I call her to ask her why she put me in a car with hardly any gas.  She tells me that there’s plenty of gas in it to go across town and back.  The warning light hasn’t even come on yet. 

But I’m going to get a gallon of gas before I go back because the folks who are supposed to know have given me conflicting opinions.  And I don’t want to run out of gas on the highway.  I don’t use rental cars very often and I’m just wondering, “What the H is going on?”. 
But it looks like we are going to have some beautiful weather today.  Temperatures in the 70’s. lots of sun and winds from the south about 20 mph.   There are a couple of solar flares heading our way and they promise to shake things up a bit.  Although not the most powerful of their class these balls of gas can shake the magnetic field in the atmosphere and this causes electrical discharges that can cause havoc.  The electrical grid can be affected.  Satellites can be messed up.  And there should be a nice display of northern lights in some areas. 
Not a good day for transportation (as I have already determined).   Here’s a photo of my Honda Accord parked in front of the house.  Actually it’s a mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetery, a landmark here in Richmond, that is the residence of many famous folks, including several US Presidents.  Probably the solar flares are not too much of a worry to them.  Sometimes, you have to admire their situation and the peaceful place that has become their home. 

Appomattox Virginia/ Where The Civil War Ended

Blogs or Posts, History, More Photos


It’s not even 9 am this morning and the temperature is up to 63 degrees. The sun is bright too. Could be a really nice day. Welcome to March!  This photo was taken a few years ago in Appomattox, Virginia. Grant and Lee met here as the Civil War ended.
It’s a great moment when war ends. The best. Hopefully we are getting to that point in our war in Afghanistan. It can’t come soon enough. The Civil War lasted a long five years but this has been going on twice as long. I’m starting to appreciate Ron Paul’s attitude towards these things.
They have done a nice job preserving all the buildings, fences and grounds in this Appomattox settlement. It represents a joyous moment in history. Mankind was tired of destroying itself. It turned its face towards peace for awhile. And America became a prosperous place.

So I was driving back from Lynchburg and decided to stop in here. It was a nice day (just like today) and well worth the effort. You can stand on the spot where the generals met and look out over the fields and woods. It really wasn’t so long ago. Did you know that the grandson of President [[wiki:John Tyler]] is still alive and lives in Virginia? And President Tyler was in office long before the Civil War from 1841 until 1845.

The Japanese Gardens At Maymont Park In February/ Richmond Virginia

Blogs or Posts, D's Photos, D's Slide shows, Richmond

Today I took the walking routine to Maymont Park where the hills will wear you out and was happy to find they have lost their power!  Twenty years ago they were killing me!  So I guess you can be in better shape at sixty than forty.  Or fifty than thirty!  Or forty than 25!

Anyway, you get the picture.  Here are some photos.  The weather was fine.  One of the horses looks like he has some problems and he is in a good place to receive the care he needs.  One of  the Red Tailed Hawks seems to be missing some feathers or maybe even most of his wing.

The sky was a nice blue with some wispy clouds.  I have been studying  Adobe Photo Elements lately and tried to use the clone tool on some of the clouds where they were blasted out.  Let me know if  any of them look like they are manipulated.  The sheep photo may be a bit bright.
But it’s great fun playing with them (the tools…not the sheep).  And I have been working on using manual controls with the Nikon D70.  Understanding depth of field and the various combinations of shutter speed and aperture.   Reading a great book about photography called Understanding Exposure. It’s all a little too much for my aging brain but the daily exercises with Lumosity are going well so maybe that will help.



I mention this to encourage anyone out there who feels like they are “losing their mind” to find it and make it stronger so it won’t get lost again anytime soon.

It really does pay, all joking aside, to work on the mind and body, especially as we get older. As someone once said, we do things to ourselves that would make us really mad if someone else did them to us!

Here are photos of a beautiful day at Maymont Park and the Japanese Gardens at Maymont with the animals.

Ghost Rider/ Satan Is Real/ Where's My Remote?

Blogs or Posts, D's Photos, D's Writing, Movies


Well the snow is going, going gone here in Virginia. And today we are looking forward to weather in the 70’s with a light breeze and lots of sun.

Very nice. The blogger is feeling better about life in general, too. He walked ten miles in the past two days, six the first day and four the second, and life is beginning to return to normal. He found his backscratcher and finished hooking up all the wayward wires in his room. He watched Ghost Rider last night for the umpteenth time and was once again happy to see good triumph over evil. There is a new Ghost Rider movie in theaters now, by the way, called Spirit of Vengeance, and we can only hope it lives up to the awesome standards of the original.

Because Satan is real! I had no idea! But the current political debates have been very educational. The blogger has learned a lot. But one thing he already knew, thankfully, is that suicide is not a solution. So when he wants to stick a gun to his own head after listening to these guys he quickly thinks about something else. Something happier. Like connecting his Comcast box to the stereo receiver or locating the remote control.

It would be great if we could all whip up some enthusiasm and get together behind Nick Cage, the Ghost Rider. And then confront Evil. But Satan is probably rolling his eyes because somehow we have managed to convince ourselves that he is the guy next door. Or the leader of some political party we abhor. And it doesn’t help at all that some of these religions believe themselves to be the only way. Guess what?! It’s not that easy! It would be so much easier to fight real evil if some of these faiths were not so busy fighting with each other!


The blogger realizes he is taking his life in his hands just talking briefly about politics or religion. And both at the same time? Maybe he is suicidal! Or, maybe he is just warming up as the weather reaches into the seventies. Feeling strong and ready to take on the world.

So I’m putting up photos of our recent winter wonderland. Here’s a photo of our long driveway decorated with snow. Thank goodness the city plows it for us, ha-ha.



But what would be even better is the Ghost Rider rumbling up the drive! Melting snow as he goes! That would be so cool! No politics. No religion too. Just power and a pure flame!!
Where the story begins. . .


Snow In Virginia At The University Of Richmond

Blogs or Posts, D's Photos, The University of Richmond



On Saturday it snowed  and gave Virginians a little thrill for a moment. It wasn’t anything to write home about but, then, it didn’t tie up traffic or dismember the electrical grid either. Around five pm I happened to glance out the window and noticed a large cloud colored in a particularly attractive shade of dark blue. So, I raced upstairs, grabbed the camera and headed over the the U where I was greeted with a nice sunset (and some brilliantly cold air). It only lasted a few moments but it provided a couple photo opportunities. And I thought it would be nice to share them with you!

University of Richmond and “snow”…

Beautiful Dogs/ Meadow Highland Games And Celtic Festival/ Doswell, Virginia

Blogs or Posts, D's Photos, D's Slide shows, Richmond

We spent a few hours north of Richmond today eating, listening to music and watching large men throw stuff.  It was pretty much fun.  The dogs were great too.  They put on quite a performance.   Here are some photos of them in action.

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