Posts tagged ‘fun things’

Catching Up to Slow Down.

Sorry for the lack of fresh updates, these past few days have been a giant whirlwind of packing, driving, meeting with old friends, and other things. So here is a quick run-down: Tuesday morning Charlie cat and I made our way from Virginia to Ohio, braving things like thunderstorms, two-dollar tollbooths (without a FastPass transponder), and many mid-western people that do not know how to drive very well.  I enjoyed myself quite a bit, as I love a good long haul but Charlie didn’t seem too pleased with the whole ordeal, and he let me know the entire way.

That night I saw one of my good childhood friends, Miss Burns. We had a lovely time at the Martini Lounge, even though I think she was slightly disappointed  that I don’t drink. But it was fun to see her  and I was very happy to do some much-overdue catching up.

The next day (today), I FINALLY had the meal that I had been dying to eat ever since I had last been in Ohio two years ago – A delicious Frisco Melt with fries and a Strawberry and Banana milkshake. Oh man, that was super tasty; like I was tasting Ambrosia in some delicious form or another. It makes me really wish that there was a Steak n’ Shake in Amherst.

After my meal I was scooped up by the ever-lovely Sarah and Aubrey, two more friends that I had grown up with. We decided that the day was ripe for a good swim in Lake Mohawk, but ended up in just being a friendly conversational wade into the recently-treated-for-blue-algae-ish water. When we were finished there we proceeded on a whirlwind tour of nostalgia and drove past my childhood home, where I am happy to say that my and my sisters’ playhouse still stands – complete with the paint cans inside of it that we had left there over five years ago. Awesome. 😛

The tour then ended at Aubrey’s house, where we met up with the gorgeous Dani (also known as 留美, or お姉ちゃん) and chatted for a few hours. We then headed out for some poking around and food at Giant Eagle (a regional grocery store chain, similar to a Harris Teeter or a Stop n’ Shop) before I returned to my father’s house around eleven or so.

Then I had the bomb dropped on me: I couldn’t finish my journey back to New E ngland until Saturday morning. Apparently,  while my father was inspecting my car for things that were needing to be fixed he noticed that my emergency brake cables needed replacing in addition to an oil change and fixing a rear wheel cylinder. This would take quite some time to do, and thus I am here until all of those things are fixed. Good thing that I had left Charlottesville early, huh? XD

Pictures of the day:

My favorite meal of all time.

My favorite meal of all time. So satisfying!

My old playhouse, complete with the paint cans left there more than five years ago.

My old playhouse, complete with the paint cans left there more than five years ago.


August 6, 2009 at 12:41 am Leave a comment

A Sunday at James Madison’s Montpelier

Sometime last week, I had decided that today was going to be the day that I would go to James Madison’s Montpelier. I figured that with wrapping up research during this week and with getting ready to go home to Massachusetts next week, I wouldn’t have any time to go back and see how much the place had changed since I had last seen it in its stripped down, down-to-the-brick form undergoing renovation two years ago. It was certainly a real treat to see the hard work of so many people at the Montpelier Foundation finally starting to come to a real fruition.

The interior of the house was still in an in-progress state, but certainly far from where it was when I had last been there. Most of the walls were covered, and there was even artwork hanging in some of rooms. They even had a few more pieces of furniture that Madison had once owned – such as one of his bookshelves from his library room. This time around, they also walked us out onto the rooftop patio on the right side of the building, which is something that I had wanted to do on my last visit but it wasn’t open for touring at the time. I had also noticed on the outside of the house that the last portion of the du Pont additions had finally been demolished, which was cool.

Also on my little trip, I visited some of the rescued Thoroughbreds up at the Montpelier barn. Apparently, since I was last there the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation had set up shop there and has been very active in caring for these horses and finding them each a better home. I was so happy to see this, and I really wished that I could’ve taken one of them home but I don’t think my landlady would like that too much. Or Toronado, for that matter. 😛

After I visited the horses, I walked down to the graveyard to pay respects to Mr. and Mrs. Madison and then headed home. It was such an awesome trip, and I hope that I can come back a third time (!) when the Foundation has aquired more of Madison’s furniture and the house is finally completely transformed into what it was when James and Dolley had lived there.

Pictures of the Day (and even more on Flickr):

Oh man, that is such a good part!

Enjoying some quality reading time with James and Dolley.

Goofing around with Jeanie, a rescued Thoroughbred.

Goofing around with Jeanie, a rescued Thoroughbred.

July 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm 2 comments

Old Virginian Recipe for Iced Tea from 1879.

While doing some research into TJ’s good friend, Virginia Senator Joseph C. Cabell, I happened to stumble upon an article for one Marion Cabel Tyree – who apparently had put into her cookbook Housekeeping in Old Virginia the oldest known recipe for  Southern Iced Sweet Tea. Aww Yeah! 🙂

July 7, 2009 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

Still Buzzing.

As has been the norm for the past week or so, I’ve been very, very busy with my research and working at the bookstore. Things are still going quite well, even in light of some confusion on my part last week. While I was studying the people in TJ’s life during his schooling years, I realized with some fear that I hadn’t even developed a thesis for my essay yet! So I sat down with Anna and discussed where I was heading with the project and what needed to be done. I recieved some very valuable (albeit I’ll admit a little confusing) input from her and an ICJS research fellow, and it helped calm me down a bit.

I also called Scott with my concerns as well, and he informed me that I just needed to sit back, relax, and start cracking open more books. Which is basically what Anna and the research fellow had said, but when I was talking it all over with them my head was spinning in 50 different directions of “oh s***” and I had to struggle to pay attention.

Anyways, what I also had learned from the experience was that one must do A TON of background reading on their subject before they can even think of crafting a thesis on their own. I was embarassed to admit that in trying too hard but also taking the matter too lightly I had just expected that a thesis would just pop up out of nowhere and fast. I realized that if I was going to create a stellar essay on (in my opinion) an understudied facet of Jefferson’s life, that I needed to get my act together and start plowing through the book that Professor Miller had lent me (if you’re reading this, thank you so much – it’s been a massive help! :)) and also through the several books that I had checked out of the library.  So this is most of the reason that I’ve been so busy lately, with the other being that I fell waaay behind in my Kanji studies, so that’s been eating a massive chunk of my free time as well.

As for the weekend, I worked at the bookstore and then picked Scott up at the Richmond airport late Saturday night. He is visiting me (yay! :)) for pretty much the entire week, and thus far it’s been fabulous having him around. He is a large wealth of knowledge and fun, as well as a great source of comfort. I’m hoping to do some minor historial sightseeing while he is around, so hopefully I’ll be able to drag him either up to TJ’s place on the mountaintop for a while or to James Madison’s Montpelier for a poke around to see all the new and exciting renovations that have been put in place since the last time I had been there two years ago. Back then the house was stripped down to its colonial skivvies – nothing but the original brick and old wooden framework on the inside, so it’ll be exciting to see the house finally restored to what it may have been like when Mr. and Mrs. Madison were living there.

Onward to today, things have been running smoothly as per usual, with the minor side task of trying to wake Scott up, at his request, at 8 AM (no doubt he has fallen back asleep by now, kid’s a heavy sleeper). I myself am currently at the library, digging through the interesting find of a book on Mr. Jefferson written by one David Saville Muzzey. I somehow was fortunate enough some years ago to have obtained a 1911 copy of his infamous textbook American History as a gift from my mom, after my copy of James P. Boyd’s 1888 Political History of the United States was ruined. Muzzey’s book  apparently is well-known in educational circles as “the book” that defined how American history is percieved by the masses in general today. From what I’ve read it had been used as a standard textbook up until the 1940’s. There is a decent blurb here about the book.  Given the apparent patriotic and intellectual idol worship nature of Muzzey’s writing in that volume (and fascinating lack of political correctness, as one passage compares the Native American to “the Mississippi negro” who “loved to bask idly in the sun” [Muzzey, pg. 20, available on Google Books]), I’m not too keen just yet on citing his work on Jefferson. But it seems to be decently written thus far, minus the complete omission of foot- or end-note documentation. Hmm. We’ll see.

Pictures of the Day (As promised, a two-fah):

Ah, the relaxing view from... my parking spot. :)

Ah, the relaxing view from... my parking spot. 🙂

Majestic Charlie.

Glowing Charlie.

June 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm 1 comment

Ah, Sweet, Sweet Sundays.

Today was a pretty relaxing day. I didn’t do too much, and I was relieved to be able to sleep in until 11 this morning. I mainly just hung out with Charlie and studied Japanese kanji all day, but I also snapped a few quick photos in between.

Charlie doing what he does best - bein' cute.

Charlie doing what he does best - bein' cute.

"What do ya want?"

"What do ya want?"

This bird was perched just outside my window for most of the afternoon, just chattering away. Jen - If you're reading this - QUICK What kind of bird is it?

This bird was perched just outside my window for most of the afternoon, just chattering away. Jen - If you're reading this - QUICK What kind of bird is it?

Charlie watching our feathered friends just outside the window. Now wonder he sits there so often. :P

Charlie watching our feathered friends just outside the window. No wonder he sits there so often. 😛

Also, I found this fantastically interesting video of Christopher Walken humbly showing the viewer how to prepare “Chicken with Pears” or “Chicken on a Throne”. Enthralling stuff! 🙂

June 14, 2009 at 10:01 pm 1 comment

I’ve Been a Busy Lil’ Bee.

Alright, so most of you have by now noticed that I’ve been ‘a slackin in my daily postings. There IS a good reason for this, I assure you. I’ve been having some major problems with misunderstandings and whatnot with the woman who I’ve been subleasing from, but all of that has FINALLY been resolved today. All is now very well in the land of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (and sometimes James  Monroe too!). I’ve also been very, very busy with my daily Japanese lessons as well. They’ve been taking up a considerable chunk of time as well, but not nearly as much as the first thing.

As you can tell by now, this week  was really stressful. It began with frantically trying to solve the leasor/rent problem, then onto solving the problem of my housemate’s puppy having an accident (twice!) on my bed. Thankfully I sleep on an air-mattress and laundry doesn’t cost too much to do. On Thursday this problem was solved by Susan from the Library, who is loaning me a fantastic wooden baby gate to keep the little leaky puppy out of my room. Awesome! 🙂

As for my research (oh yeah, I remember that! :P), in spite of all the shenanigans, it’s been going very well. I’ve been getting a lot of work done researching and taking notes on the people in TJ’s life while he was in Williamsburg and while he was being tutored in his earlier years as well. It’s pretty fun and interesting stuff, but it’s also hard work as well.

This weekend so far has been fantastic. I had two very wonderful and productive days at the bookstore, and I even got to leave 1 1/2 hours early today since I did such an awesome job in restocking shelves. I even got paid for those 1 1/2 hours! What can I say, I love my job. 🙂

On to the juicier bits – the Pictures of the Day that I’ve missed for the past few days.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library. TJ had a few of these made for himself, he liked them so much. He also liked to give them as gifts as well, if my memory serves me right.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I <3 Scott Wilson or I <3 TJ on it. :'(

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I ❤ Scott Wilson or I ❤ TJ on it. :'(

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: TJ, J-Mads, and President Monroe.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: J-Mads, TJ, and President Monroe. Presidents Monument on the side of City Hall in Downtown Charlottesville.

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. :P

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. 😛

June 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm 2 comments

Paul Leicester Ford Madness and on to the Next Step of My Research.

This morning at the Library was fairly exciting for me. When I was doing some research about an acquaintance of TJ’s, I had to go to the Reference Section to get Vol. 9 of Paul Leicester Ford’s set on his writings when I noticed that this set was practically the only one that the Library did not have a copy of in circulation. This was where the adventure began, as somehow I had made my way to and stumbled upon recently published paperbacks of volumes 5, 9, and 10. Awesome! So I relayed my exciting find to Anna, only to discover that we would not find any solid information on a publisher or on where to find the other 7 volumes of the set in paperback either. So we set off trying to find information on the proper publisher. A simple Google search took us to many websites that didn’t seem like they would be the responsible party for publishing these fine volumes, as most of them were either Art book publishers, disconnected websites, or a profile in some form or another of the Art book publisher’s website.

I’m sure that we had spent a good 20 minutes trying to clear this hurdle, when it occurred to me that perhaps the information would be in one of the cover or title page images on Amazon. After getting back to the page that started these shenanigans, I promptly checked the back cover and, low and behold, there it was! Had we only changed the domain, we certainly would’ve stumbled on the rightful publisher at Apparently, in addition to re-printing the Ford set, they publish some American classics and hard-to-find titles, as well as government titles like the 9/11 Commission Report. Fantastic! So now I feel as if I’ve contributed a fairly productive tip for the Library, and now we may finally see some circulating copies of the wonderful Paul Leicester Ford edited set of Jefferson writings. Yay! 🙂

More to come later.

June 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

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