Friday, October 22, 2010

Week of Deals w/Coupons

Look at all the weekly deals using couponsSPENT $15.00

This week was especially good for a few high $$ items.  If you have tried to buy office supplies, cat litter, or PURE anything - it's not cheap

 $80.00 worth of stuff for $15.00

Office Depot - 2 FREE packages of labels
(thanks Jenny @ for that tip)

CVS - 1 FREE Hydro 5 Razor

Big Lots - $3.00 for a 12 cute File folders
and 5 Sharpie "Cafe Colors" Markers

Harris Teeter Spent $12.00 and Saved $27.00
FREE World's Best Cat Litter (retail $8.99), FREE can Tomato Paste, FREE bag Temptations Cat Treats, FREE can Campbell's Soup.  $1. off - Caribou Coffee, PURE Vanilla, and large can chopped Swanson Chicken.

I also sold 5 men's shirts on Craigslist for $30.00.
It was a profit week!

Check out my Must See Links section for a good TWO DAY DEAL.

If you need help getting started or have found deals yourself this week - leave a comment below.

- Rebecca

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's a Girl to do ?

Each Thursday I'll list several events upcoming this weekend that I'm interested in attending.  Hope to see you there!


Main Library on Market St. - Movie - 7pm, FREE, The Dhamma Brothers, documentary, the potential of prison inmates even if "no hope" has been afforded to them. Good reviews online.  NOTE:  It's newbie Cindy's BDay today --- we'll be at Tara Thai then off to the movie. 
Double NOTE:  Photo is of Cindy - she is not a prison inmate - YET - HBDay!


Ivy Creek Natural Area Work Day - 9am, FREE, meet Education Center/Barn area. Help control non-native invasive plants.  Tools provided.

No chicken weekend - save a bird!
Raw Food & Vegan Basic Cooking Workshop - 11am - 1pm, $25, pre-registration is REQUIRED.   Chefs Keith Molyneaux and Jennifer Livingston are instructors.

Ragged Mountain Natural Area Moonlit Walk  - 7:30 pm, FREE, meet at the Parking Lot, BRING A FLASHLIGHT - Moonlit walk -experience the ghostly presence of Edgar Allan Poe who found refuge here while a student at UVA (Not recommended for small children).

- Rebecca

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Uninvited Guest

When we moved here over a year ago, we had no idea that our backyard was harboring so many visually exciting activities.  The screened porch overlooking the backyard with the view of the mountains sold us on the house.  We can now add, the uninvited guest to the list of other discoveries we've made over the last year... the neighbors pond and frogs, plants and bulbs that sprang up after a long winter, strange bugs (they grow them bigger here), a lovely snake, lots of deer, a possum, baby bunnies, a neighborhood July 4th fireworks display that equals the D.C. extravaganza, and the list goes on.

Balloon ride lands on Forsytnia Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia
Outside during the fall months of the year we always hear a familiar sound - a loud whoosh of rushing wind.  Typically we hear it in the distance and it gets louder as it approaches our house.  But this morning I heard a loud blasting kkkkkkuwhooosh that seemed to be in the bedroom with me where I was sound asleep!  I knew immediately that it was a "blog moment"... the closeup photo that I had tried to capture for a year was HERE.

I ran out on the porch deck with my camera wearing my PJ's and discovered a hot air balloon was landing in our yard. 

WOW.  I'm not sure how we could ever top this.  I mean how often do you have a hot air balloon land in your yard.

The uninvited guest seems to land where ever it pleases and it was a joy to see it land and be disassembled right in our backyard!  It truly is one of the fun things we see from our screened porch during the fall months and typically there are three that float together. 

Initially it was kinda strange because the people in the balloon basket were in a frozen state until the runner car arrived to assess the landing site and determine if the balloon could be dismantled and safely removed.  I was attempting to cover up my PJ's with a coat that I had hurriedly grabbed when the driver in the basket called out to me, "Hello, beautiful mornin' isn't it".  I was looking pretty haggard at that moment but it truly was a beautiful morning!

Look at the balloon in my yard on Forsythia Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia

The whole packing up the balloon sequence took about 40 minutes.
It's hard to believe that five passengers, the basket, and balloon all fit into one van and cart!

The End and a beautiful mornin' to you!

- Rebecca

Monday, October 18, 2010

In memory of our Butter Oct 1996 - 2010

I'm delaying publishing today's slated blog due to the sudden death of our dear Butter Cream last night.  Those of you that knew Butter I know are also saddened by this loss.  In memory and honor of Butter I'm forcing myself to face the issue head on and write about it for all to read.  I saw many pets die and consoled many grieving pet owners when I was the Director of the Pulaski County Humane Society but it is never like losing one of your own.  Here is Butter's story...

Butter was found strolling downtown Pulaski's Main Street.  I asked a man if it was his cat because Butter was rubbing on his leg and walking right with him.  I tried to sell the man on taking the cat - NOPE - I remember him saying "he's a Tom" and then I too noticed he certainly was!  I have a great weakness for yellow tabbies and the poor cat was ALONE and LOST and in middle of the bustling downtown traffic area (if you know downtown PU, that a misnomer).  He could get hit and die (these were all good details to relay to husband at home).

We were pet-less and had been since our dear Tator died 2 years prior.  It was just a cat after all and they can stay outside (my feelings on this have changed since).  Butter eventually made his way into our house.  He was an inside at night, outside during the day kinda cat.  He would patrol the property - we would watch him walk straight down our side property line!  He would hang out in the garden and enjoy the sun and chat w/me.  He loved to talk.  You would just hear him chatting away on the porch.  As if that was his place to have a conversation about how content he was.  If he wanted outside he would let you know (which was usually at night when you were asleep) very loudly until you let him out or went insane, which ever was first!

When I was little my Grandparents (who's house we ended up living in when we found Butter) had a yellow tabby named "Mew".  He had asthma just like my Grandfather and was treated with his medicines!  Mew would let me pick him up (the cat was bigger than me) and pet him and I loved Mew.  He was a permanent fixture on Pleasant Hill.  It was a little odd that I picked up a chatty yellow tabby, as if there needed to always be a "Mew" in that house.

Between my early years and my later years we always had dogs and I proudly exclaimed to anyone that asked that I was a "dog person".  I'm not sure why we have to take sides on this matter - may be because they are polar opposite creatures.  Even though Butter really acted like a dog in several ways.  He was NOT a fraidy cat.  Butter would sit on the arm of the sofa beside the front door and growl at any stranger.  He would not run and hide when visitors came, he greeted them.  My other three cats are chickens, running and hiding when they hear something strange.  Butter was the king of the house - strolling around like he was "in charge".  By the way, if asked, I now would say I'm a "cat person".

He did have his submissive moments, like every night when he would get on his bankie (a hand crocheted wedding present) and knead it with a piece of it in his mouth!  It was so funny to watch the king of the castle turn into a baby before your eyes.  Butter would have a conversation with me.  I would hear him going on and on and I would interject.  He would respond, then I would respond, and on and on.  My other cats do not do this.  I will miss this the most of all.  His voice is now silent.  Our bed is now devoid of all pets, the first time in a dozen years!  We lost our dear dog Daisy 2 months ago and she and Butter slept with us (it was a bit crowded).    

Anthony buried Butter this am IN THE DARK.  He thought it fitting since he was nocturnal.  I looked out at 6:30 and there was a spotlight and my husband digging.  Anthony has buried too many pets to count.  When I was with the humane society, I couldn't stand the thought of some of the more special cats being hauled off so I would take them home and Anthony would bury them without complaint.  It seems so strange not putting Butter with the other pets on Pleasant Hill but at least he is with us. 

The loss of a pet is never easy and a I can only be grateful that he went quickly and that such options exist for our pets dear to us.  I was thinking back on his last day... Several hours before he passed, I heard a great thumping and banging and looked over to see him batting and chasing his favorite mouse.  Earlier in the day, he ate his favorite meal (canned food) and sat on Anthony's lap.  Most of the morning he was stretching in the sun on the back porch looking very happy.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's a Girl to do ?

Each Thursday I'll list several events upcoming this weekend that I'm interested in attending.  Hope to see you there!


Apple Tasting - Tufton Farm near Monticello - 9:30am, $10, meet at Tufton - 2.5 hours, apple history, rating, and tasting.

Ivy Creek Natural Area Plant Walk - 10am, FREE, meet Education Center.  Join Tm Williams with the Va Native Plant Society for this colorful fall walk.

Northside Library on 29N - Movie - 1:30pm, FREE, Julie and Julia (movie about Julia Child).


Zombie 5K - Lee Park - 8:30am - COOL - U can be a zombie or a "normal" person (not that anyone is going to be normal on this run)!  Sounds like fun.  This will be made into a MOVIE!

- Rebecca

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A lama speaks in Charlottesville

Last evening we attended a free discussion with Tibetan lama and author, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.  It was held at the Unity Church five minutes from our house.  The session was broadcast over the internet and questions were asked by people in Texas, Brazil, Mexico, and Vietnam!  This is the second Buddhist that I have heard speak and both offered very common sense advice as to how to live life open to whatever comes your way.  This is a topic which many have committed a lifetime to, so my translation is how I understand it from stepping a teeny toe into it.  On the surface, it sounds as if this talk could be monotonous or too serious --- but there were some funny and enlightening moments for the local audience of an estimated 100 people.

Rinpoche discussed "Openness" and three essences - Phenomenon, Mind, and Sky.  All essences are forms of meditation to help you deal with anger, possessiveness, materialization, fixations, stress, or just "life".  First you have to realize "the issue", which is in reference to the essence of Phenomenon.  You need to relax and focus, shutting down half of your brain to rationality, fear, logic, language and open the other side of your mind to peace, quietness, beauty, and emptiness as a way to reduce pain, stress, and anxieties.   For example, when becoming anxious over a given event you first recognize the situation, then be aware of it from a place of stillness, silentness, and eventually discover the positives.  Stated best by Rinpoche, "When you feel a certain wind rising in you, then you can let it go with a breath... but if your mind chooses to reinforce it, then it becomes much harder to let go".

He said to substitute pain for openness.  He guarantees that within 10 minutes of silent thoughts, being physically still  - not guiding or labeling or analyzing the issue - allowing the mind to be clear and luminous - the pain will go away.  This is the essence of the Mind.  You have a choice to put the problem in the open space in your mind in order to get rid of it or let it stew and worsen basically.

I could relate the most to essence of the sky.  This is the ability to (for example) climb a tall mountain and gaze out at the sky all around you and absorb its boundlessness.  It's the power of open attention, simply gazing at the sky and appreciating and understanding its vastness and grandeur.  In this situation you relax and think of nothing, emptying the mind and only having a connection to the sky.  He mentioned taking a group to do just this and one person was looking around and fretting and could just not "get it" -- wanting "stuff" to happen (I guess a fireworks display at that moment would have been nice) to understand joy in the sky.  Personally I found this so sad, to not be able to find joy and calm in the vastness of the universe.

I'll end this post with a few statements from Rinpoche:

To experience true wisdom the three essences are one - the fortunate ones will realize this. 

True realization has nothing to do with circumstance.

True joy is "joy of being".

You must experience self as who you "are not" to understand who you are.

- Rebecca

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Great day for a walk !

Yesterday a group of us enjoyed attending the 2nd annual Preservation Piedmont Home Tour.  It was the most perfect day of the year for a lazy day stroll around a historic downtown Charlottesville neighborhood.  It was a good way to usher in the Fall season.  

Most of the architecture selected for the tour was constructed in the early 1900's.  There were some exceptions to the rule.  One newer contemporary home was on the tour, a 50's Cape Cod, and also a high-end chicken coop!

Many of the homes had been renovated but their exteriors were in keeping with the period leaving the historic charm and neighborhood character intact, preserving history while adding modern conveniences.  Some homes were owned by artists, carpenters, or architects which certainly helps when you are going to tackle complex renovation projects.

Wonderful art was displayed in many of the homes - some beautiful, some striking and even comical.  The "book chair" was a fun feature along the way.  

One home had transformed a small garage nestled in the woods into a "secret" cabin complete with a large wood cook stove.  It made you wish for a cold winter night with a good book and cup of tea. 

We chatted with super nice guides and home owners.  All eager to share the history of the architecture and their love of their special neighborhood.  It is unanimous, we'll be back next year and can't wait to see what homes are open to visit!

- Rebecca


Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's a Girl to do ?

A LOT in Charlottesville!  Each Thursday I'll list several events upcoming this week that I'm interested in attending.  Hope to see you there!


Thomas Jefferson and Natural History Walk - Monticello - 9:30am, $10, meet Garden Center at the Visitor's Center - 2 hour trek through the forest led by Curator of Plants, Peggy Cornett.

Preservation Piedmont's Fall Home Tour - 1pm - 5pm, $15 in advance (Greenberry's Coffee) or $20 on day - visit 8 homes and a chicken coop!


Ivy Creek Natural Area Insect Walk - 1pm, FREE, meet Education Center.  Join Peter Warren, horticultural extension agent for Charlottesville and Albemarle.

- Rebecca

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Newbie's Welcome

If you are NEW to the Charlottesville area, there is a club that will welcome you with open arms!  The Newcomers Club of Greater Charlottesville has been in existence since 1994 and now has over 400 members.  Apparently you can stay in the club forever and many members love it so much that they have done just that!

It took me a year to attend one of the meetings and I was surprised to discover a room full of 100 newcomers!  Also at the meeting were non-profit groups from around the area (I was particularly interested in the Paramount Theatre volunteer program).  I enjoyed meeting many newcomers and a group of six of us went to lunch after the meeting.  My core "newbie peeps" continue to meet every Friday for lunch and explore Charlottesville.

There are many "groups" available to join within The Newcomers Club of Greater Charlottesville.  Several groups that are of interest to me are:

  • Gardening Group
  • Tea Group
  • Coffee Group
  • Saving Money 101

Other groups to join are - Bridge, Games, Book Reading, Men's Book Reading, Men's Coffee, Dining-in, Luncheons, Genealogy, Health Nuts, Golf, Tennis, Stitch and Craft, and Mah Jongg.  You can even start your own group.  Several trips are also organized each year for Newcomer members.  Memberships are $30.00 each year to join the Club.

A recent Coffee Group meeting at Maggie's lovely home, allowed newcomers to socialize.  There is always plenty of  good coffee and  food at this group meeting!  If you have been in the area for less than 3-years you can come to a few meetings and see if it is "your cup of tea".

The Newcomers Club makes it easy to meet people that are in a similar circumstance.  I have met interesting people from Florida, NY, Italy, Ohio, California, and just about every other state!  Each person has a unique story as to why they ended up in Charlottesville. 

You may be apprehensive to attend that first meeting but remember, everyone is on the same footing.  You're  new and probably don't know many people and WANT to get to know the area and people in your community.  If you're a newbie, I hope you will continue to check out my blog to see what there is to do in Charlottesville and come to a club meeting - I'm happy to show you the ropes!  The Newcomers Club of Greater Charlottesville.

- Rebecca

Monday, October 4, 2010

Amazingly Beautiful Community of Innisfree

One of my stops this weekend was to the Vegan Meetup at Innisfree Village.  My husband and two of my newbie buddies (Trisha and Cindy) drove out 25 miles West of our house in Charlottesville to the Crozet area for a Vegan potluck.  Innisfree residents that wanted to participate attended.   Many wonderful dishes were prepared (my fav being the Apple Empanadas made by Trisha's husband). But I digress... Innisfree is a wonderful 550 acre community where intellectually disabled adults (coworkers) live with full-time residential volunteers and support staff.  Volunteers commit to at least a one-year residency at Innisfree.  We enjoyed dining with a volunteer from Germany.  Apparently when you turn 18 in Germany you have two choices - to volunteer or to enlist!  After visiting Innisfree - NO BRAINER - sign me up!

The peaceful setting and kind residents make you feel as if this is the way we should ALL live.  Scenic Innisfree is a self-sufficient community that has its own bakery, wood shop, weavery, community kitchen, and organic produce and herb gardens.  Also available are pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a large gym.  The original Innisfree residence hall begin in a 200 year-old farmhouse.

We were given a very nice tour of the grounds and impressive workshops.  Coworkers make and sign their works of art and sell them around Charlottesville, and on their website.  CSA produce shares are sold to Charlottesville area citizens and convenient pickup locations are provided in neighboring towns.

I'm not sure who that was doing all the dishwashing and cleanup but MANY THANKS!  It was a lovely place to have a meetup while getting to know the residents of Innisfree! 

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