Tuesday, 16 January 2007


Had a great day on Sunday in Richmond. It's been unseasonably warm so we could sit outside and have a long, leisurely lunch with our friends. We then went for a stroll and had a look in some of the shops in Carytown. I managed to come away with yet another candle to add to the seven pounds of scented wax that I've already bought.

After saying farewell to Bob and Kirsten and also checking out a few more shoe stores in the Short Pump shopping area, we drove back to Newport News to meet up with Alex and Courtney for Mexican food at our favourite restaurant in Virginia, Tequila Rose. Thankfully, the food is still fabulous and the margaritas are still yummy...and huge! This is the small size!

It was a great night and so lovely to meet Alex's new girlfriend. Well, new to us - they've been living together for almost two years!! The night stayed warm so we got to eat outside on the deck - a bit of a novelty in January in Virginia!!

On Monday, Ryan was off with the "boys", doing who knows what and I toodled around on my own in the rental car. Popped past the Prime Outlets again, stopped in at the Christmas store and then drove down to Newport News Park where I did the 2.6 mile trail. So so so pretty - dammit though, I forgot the camera battery so will have to do without pics. It was again lovely weather - 75 degrees, whatever that is in Celsius - so it was lovely to walk around and once again, there was no one there. I really don't understand why no one walks these trails. I walked them every weekend when I lived here but I only passed about six people and it was a public holiday here. I love this trail - it winds around a lake and you can spot deer and squirrels as you go. I also love how the path itself is soft with dry pine needles and fall leaves.

Monday night, we spent hanging out with Ryan's sister, her husband and our neice and nephew for the last time at their place. Cate and Jared have grown so much since we saw them in 2004 and we're sad that it will be a long while til we see them again! Who knows what sort of personality traits they will develop by then! We're now at Ryan's dad's house in Suffolk for the rest of the trip. We're trying to make the most of the last few days though and avoid thinking about how much we'll soon be missing everyone here. (I'm trying to drink my body weight in Diet Dr Pepper too.) We drove over here yesterday morning and then went for lunch with Ryan's grandparents to celebrate his grandfather's 85th birthday. We came back to their house after lunch and looked at some family pictures - quite fun to see photos from the 1930s when Paw Paw was in 2nd grade in the middle of the Depression!

Last night, we also caught up with the last of the Denbigh crowd, having dinner in Chesapeake with Sue and Bill. We had forgotten the joys of the interstate in peak hour though - nightmare! Sue cooked up a massive meal - roasted game hens, sweet potato and cranberry bake, green bean casserole, herbed pototoes and berries and angel food cake for dessert. It was wonderful to see their home and meet their furbabies.

Today, we're having a day in at Randy and Lucy's. Lucy has organised some barbeque (which is slow cooked pork, shredded when it's tender and then mixed with BBQ sauce and vinegar...sounds a bit odd but it's DIVINE!) for dinner. I am thinking I may pop out to the mall in Norfolk this afternoon, though it's turned really cold out there (36 degrees Fahrenheit) so we'll see if that happens. Robin and Jack are coming past tonight and we are going out for dinner with Nancy and Bryan, Lucy's daughter and her husband. We always have a fun time when we go out as a six, so we're looking forward to that too! Tomorrow, Robin is bringing her kids over for our last full day and then we're flying up to New York on Friday! I can't believe it's all almost over but we're enjoying the last few days with family as much as we can.

Monday, 15 January 2007

West Point, Virginia

We've had a wonderful weekend so far in Virginia...

When I last wrote, it was Thursday morning and we were about to head into West Point to look around. West Point is a lovely area of Virginia and somewhere that we would love to live if we do come back to the States someday. It has a really sweet small town feel and everyone is so friendly. We went in to meet Ryan's sister and then we went to the downtown area, perusing the antique store, the art gallery/coffee shop (Mmmm, lemon chess cheesecake!) and also the jewellery store. I took some photos around town as well...

We picked up Robin's kids and had a great seafood dinner in West Point at a place called Nick's. Very very yummy but we were totally decimated again by the amount of deep frying involved! We obviously need to build up "fry stamina" again!

On Friday, we met up with Ryan's dad in Williamsburg and he, Ryan and our nephew, Jared went to the Ripley's Believe it or Not musuem. They had a blast and Robin and I grabbed the opportunity to shop at one of the Christmas stores that Williamsburg hosts! An hour later, I have lots of new CUUUUUTTTTEEE things. Ryan was especially sad to miss that store.

After a quick lunch, Ryan and I went down to Denbigh High School, where we used to teach. It was so fun wandering the halls, freaking people out. Lots of people had no idea at all that we were in town, so there was lots of blank looks before recognition dawned! We arrived just as school was letting out and had a good giggle at some of the "gangsta" looks that the kids were sporting. I can't believe I taught kids with their belts around their knees without cracking up!! We then headed over to Uno's where we used to spend Friday afternoons at Happy Hour when we worked here. We caught up with a whole new bunch of Denbigh people which was wonderful. It was quite funny that a lot of them hadn't seen each other for almost as long as we'd been away too!

Yesterday, we had a fun day in the house with the kids and Robin. The kids got a rock painting kit for Christmas so we went out into the woods behing the house. Jared has a little motorised John Deere Gator and it was so cute to see him "Driving Miss Daisy" with Cate.

Robin and I got totally into the rock painting, even after the kids had lost interest :) It was great fun to sit on the screened in porch in the afternoon warmth anyhow. It's been such great weather that we're really able to enjoy the outdoors!

Later in the afternoon, Ryan, Robin and I went to a wine tasting in Williamsburg with even more Denbigh people which was fun. The Australian wine was labelled from Melbourne which was a bit odd but it was pretty gross so maybe it was grown down by the river.... We then went over to the Outback Steakhouse, where I had a very Australian meal of Hickory Smoked Ribs :)

I then convinced Ryan and our friends, Alex and Courtney that we should walk around Colonial Williamsburg in the dark, stop for a drink and takes photos. I don't think they really had any idea of how many photos that involved....

It is just sooo pretty in Colonial Williamsburg. I'm going to go back in the daylight to get some better pictures of some of the old buildings too. There wasn't much light around last night though I did take this gorgeous shot on the William and Mary college campus.

Today, we're heading up to Richmond to meet up with even MORE ex-Denbigh people. Can't wait. We're going to this cool, funky shopping district and then I have some directions from Robin to some GREAT shoe stores....