Thursday, November 28, 2013


I am thankful for many things (pretty much everything) but most of all for my family.

I am also grateful to live in such a beautiful, quirky little speck on the map.

Speaking of which, Mathews County is in the running for "Coolest Small Town in America."

Click here to link to our tourist site which has a link to the contest.

Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


These are shots of Richardson's at the corner of Church and Main Streets.

When I was growing up, we went here to drop off our film (which was mailed to places unknown for developing), fill prescriptions, sip Pink Ladies at the counter and /or browse for novelties at Rosie's Gift Shop next door.

Now it's a restaurant.

I have evidence old enough to be in the Mathews Museum if such a place existed that we once filled our prescriptions here.  The bottle above dates to 1492 1982, just after I graduated high school.  Evidently a torturous trip to the dentist required pain pills.  Don't ask me why I still have this. I suppose the short answer has to do with wanting to be a museum curator nostalgia.

Today Richardson's is a quaint place to grab a bite to eat and reminisce about simpler times that may or may not have included a painful trip to the dentist.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Buy Boat

These buy boats were gathered at the Tides Inn as part of a festival of sorts that took place there this weekend.

Aside from going here Saturday afternoon, I didn't leave the house all weekend.

Sunday was way too cold, and all I wanted to do was hibernate until June 2014 sleep.

This week we shift gears into Thanksgiving-Christmas-NewYears-Don'tBlinkIt'sJanuary mode.

I'm not sure I'm ready, but that doesn't matter.  Ready or not, here it is.


For more background on buy boats and a brief video clip of images from a buy boat reunion, click here.

Click here for more information about the Iva W,shown above.

Click here for even more info on the Iva W from a prior life as a bed and breakfast in Florida.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Aarons Beach

These were taken a few weeks ago from Aarons Beach.  

The boat was off in the distance fishing gill nets.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Yesterday, in between various errands I was running in the cold hours of the early morning, I stopped in Mathews Court House to take a few pictures.  These are of the Confederate statue on the historic court green.

The statue was unveiled in the early 1900s on what was reported to be a very hot day.  

It was not hot here yesterday morning.

As I stood in the middle of the completely deserted road 
gazing up at the statue, along came a car.

In it was Mathews Mark.

(This photo is slightly blurry because I was trying to take his picture without him noticing.  
It's hard to be discreet when the person is looking directly at you.)

Mathews Mark stopped, rolled down his window and caught me up on his activities, which include a recent trip to South Carolina for his mother's 60th high school reunion.  This conversation occurred like so many do around here: in the middle of the road with nary a car coming for miles.  

Reason #634 why I love Mathews.  

Spontaneous conversations in the middle of the road.

Click here and here for two of many blog posts I've written featuring the one and only Mathews Mark.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Name That Boat

These were taken about a week or so ago from my back yard.

It's rare to see a boat on Queens Creek this time of year, especially one so photogenic.

This one is named Finale.  While I understand why someone might bestow that name--and there could be many fine reasons--I think without any other context it sounds so, well, final.  As if there's nothing more after this. This is my last hoorah.  I'm done with everything, that's it. The End. 

Which leads me to wonder what I might name this boat if it were mine, and I were retired, and the children were leading their own lives.

(Which makes me laugh hysterically, because I will be working until I am 105.)

Still, it's a fun question for someone whose brain is fried from a long day at the office and a long commute that does not involve much thinking at all much creativity.

Wanderer.  Gypsy.  Serenity.  Freedom. Liberation. Escape. Adventurer. Seas Today.

If I had more energy and time to think, I could come up with a thousand others.

What would you name it?

Monday, November 18, 2013


This weekend I had the privilege of traveling to the state cross country meet at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia. 

This wasn't my first time at Great Meadow.  

The first time was back in the 1800s 1990s for the Gold Cup--a steeplechase.  

A steeplechase involves horses. Like the Kentucky Derby only with jumps and other obstacles, in this case very hilly terrain. I am very curious to know why they call it a steeplechase (and why people riding horses might be chasing steeples) but am too tired to investigate at the time of this writing, particularly since this is not about a horse race.

It's about humans racing on a horse track in a meet called States.

My beautiful daughter Maria ran in Saturday's steeplechase state cross country meet.

She ran the fastest she's run all year and shaved more than a minute off her personal best.

I am an insane fan just ask anyone around that day
insanely proud of her and the whole team.

The boys and the girls placed fourth out of twelve teams that went to the state meet.

I spent hours yesterday uploading photos to my other blog for parents and others who may know the runners.

Any day now this blog will return to photos of Mathews County, but in the meantime congratulations to the Mathews High cross country runners and their phenomenal Coach Greve.

What a great season.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall Colors

This tree lives near my driveway.

Every fall it produces the most spectacular display of sunshine-yellow leaves.

These last two shots of blue and gold--the colors of Mathews High School--are for good luck for this weekend's state cross country meet.  Mathews has a decent shot at winning both races, and I will be a nervous wreck until it's all over.

I hope your weekend is full of color and free from worries.

Have a great one.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three Things

Aarons Beach

It's Thursday?  Again?  It feels like Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday. But if in fact it's Thursday, that means it's time to share three things. Three thoughts.  Three Whatever Is On Your Minds.  Keep in mind that three is merely a suggestion. Nobody will be scolded for bending the rules and sharing one, two or even twelve thoughts.

Let's begin.

1.  Today is Daughter's very last cross country practice of the season before the teams depart Friday morning for the state meet at Great Meadow on Saturday.  They've been practicing since August, so it's a bit bittersweet to see the season come to an end. Although back in August she was rather noncommittal about cross country, it is clear based on our discussion last night that she is sorry to see the season come to a close. I am too.

2.  The weather here the past two days has been way too cold. Could someone please just declare Hibernation Season until March?  All I want to do is sleep. Thank you.

3.  In spite of the above, I'm still psyched up from last weekend's half marathon.  So much so that I am contemplating adding another one to my repertoire before my next one in April, perhaps the Shamrock in Virginia Beach.  We'll see.

Now it's your turn to share three (or more) things.  Whatever is on your mind.  Anything at all.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

OBX Half Marathon 2013

Note: We interrupt this blog which claims to be about Mathews County to bring you news of a Mathews County family's adventures in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Warning: When two sisters from Mathews get away from home on their own, with no responsibilities and lots of marathon-induced endorphins coursing through their veins, anything can happen including, well, let's just say you've been warned. Things will return to normal (whatever that is) here on this blog in a day or so. Thank you for your patience.


Once upon a time, two sisters who don't get out much traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a half-marathon, even though neither had really trained for a 13.1-mile race.

Off season in the Outer Banks can be just wonderful.

No crowds. And oceanfront hotels are very reasonably priced.

These half-marathons are really not so much about the race. It's all about the getting away. Sort of like one of those inexpensive vacations where "all you have to do" is sit through a 30-minute timeshare presentation.

Except instead of 30 minutes it's about 2.5 hours, and instead of contemplating the purchase of a timeshare we're contemplating our mortality the finish line of a 13.1-mile jogathon that is anything but fun.

In fact, it's torture.

But again it's not about that short period of torture akin to a root canal  prolonged timeshare sales pitch.

It's all about the getting away from home.

And the laughter.

And the food.

And more...much more.

Baby Sis post-race at the Manteo waterfront. Yes, she wore a scarf the entire 13.1 miles, only because she forgot to take it off at the starting line.  Most of the time it was around her waist. There was a point somewhere around Mile 5 or 6 where I contemplated using it to strangle a very loud man behind me.  Thankfully for all parties involved, he stopped talking politics I restrained myself.

Baby Sis and I finished the half-marathon without walking, which was our goal. A year ago when we ran this particular race, we finished in about two and a half hours. In April we ran one in Nashville--in cold, pouring down rain complete with thunder and lightning on a very hilly course--in about two hours and thirty seven minutes.

We had very low expectations for this race, particularly since we didn't feel prepared and both of us complained about various important body parts that were bound to give out--like hearts, legs, lungs, brains, backs, knees, etc.

In spite of our doubts, we not only achieved our goal of finishing without walking, but we had our best time ever: two hours and twenty two minutes!  It was crazy.

However, the race was not entirely uneventful.

After crossing the finish line, which we had sort of sprinted towards, Baby Sis stopped and held up one finger (not that one, just the regular pointing finger) indicating she needed to pause for a minute. She said she couldn't breathe--or rather she could breathe out but not in. The Very Nice Race Helper directed another Very Nice Race Helper to get a wheelchair, into which Baby Sis plopped.

Still recovering from 13.1 miles of WHAT DID WE JUST DO myself, I could barely grasp what was going on but had wits enough to grab my free visor and coconut water before dashing after the wheelchair-pushing paramedic to make sure I didn't lose Baby Sis in the throngs of giddy beer guzzlers race finishers.

By the way, when you've just completed 13.1 miles without stopping and then you stop moving, it's not easy to begin sprinting after your wheelchair-bound sister being pushed by a Very Fresh As In Hasn't Run a Half-Marathon Paramedic.  It just wasn't what I was prepared for.

It wasn't what Baby Sis was prepared for either.

Once we arrived at the medics' tent, she became slightly belligerent a little annoyed at the attention she was receiving, particularly since she knew we weren't far from the beer garden felt so much better after having sat down for a moment. However, she politely explained to the Super Kind Medical People that it was either an anxiety attack, a slight case of exercise-induced asthma, or Hey, my knee almost gave out about half a mile ago and my toes don't exist anymore, so I just needed to sit down.

Or all of that.

In any case, no sooner had the very nice race helpers started to ask in-depth questions than Baby Sis jumped up like a Jack-in-the Box and asked where the beer garden was.

Once we found food and the beer garden, we were as good as new!

Hey, hey, hey!

The people-watching in Manteo after this race can't be beat.

We met many interesting and inspiring people, including one man in his 60s who has run a full marathon (that's 26.2 miles) in all 50 states. His favorite was the Boston Marathon; he says the sheer number of people cheering you on makes you run when you want to walk. The toughest? Pikes Peak. The most beautiful? Hawaii. This man is also a cancer survivor. I asked him if anyone in his family ran with him. "Nope. Too lazy."

Our new friend Brad, also in his 60s, started in our corral and burped very loudly around Mile 4, much to our delight. Baby Sis and I have a very immature sense of humor which will never mature, evidently. Anyway, Brad has done Ironmans, he has done crazy Caribbean swimming with sharks, he's done all sorts of amazing races. And he's not ready to stop.

But back to the people-watching.

This is CBW and Random Stranger Wearing a Kilt

This Random Stranger Also Wearing a Kilt had just completed the full marathon.

Baby Sis could not get over the fact he ran 26.2 miles in a kilt.

Baby Sis also refused to call it a kilt. To her it is a skirt.

For purposes of maintaining the peace, we'll call it a skilt.

Baby Sis and Marathon Man chatted at length.

Their conversation was very lively, and Baby Sister was very animated.

By the way, although you can't necessarily tell it here, there were HUNDREDS of people around us.

Baby Sister, high on two and a half hours of exercise, endorphins, a few free beers from the beer garden and life, started to sprout one of her infamous wild hairs.

By the time the picture below was snapped, those wild hairs were out of control.

She glances and restrains herself--probably because I begged her to.

She can't resist the urge. However at this point she was just pretending for the picture.

Dear Readers:
This may be the first photograph I've ever edited. You're welcome.
p.s. Baby Sis begged me to put the unadulterated version of this photo up, but I just could not.
She plans to use the original version as her Facebook cover photo.
Maybe the oxygen loss at the finish line is to blame, who knows. We may never really know.

Either way, please look at that grin on her face.

After the skirt kilt curiosity was dealt with, we were all best amigos.

My feet hurt so badly, even these flip flops were too much. 
They appeared to meld into the pavement just like my feet did around Mile 7.

Baby Sis's feet, post-race, post-wheelchair and post-skilt incident.

A good time was had by all. 

As long as I can draw a breath, I want to do this particular race with Baby Sis.

Hopefully next year we can convince Middle Sis and other family members to join us.

In spite of the 13.1 miles of quasi-torture, which also provides motivation to move and exercise in the months weeks leading up to the race, it really is a great time.

If anyone reading does not exercise but wants to, just start off small. Walk for a few minutes a day and build up from there. If you walk but don't think you can jog, walk longer distances and just jog a few steps when you can. If you jog but think you can't for long distances, all I can tell you is I never ran more than three miles in my life until a few years ago. I told myself I couldn't or thought that you had to be special to do long distances.

You don't have to be special but you have to change your thinking.

Completing anything is 99% mental and a small fraction physical.

If you say no before you try, there is no chance you ever will.

If you say maybe or yes and open your mind up to the possibility, you're way ahead of the game.

I am not ready yet to say I really want to do a full marathon of 26.2 miles, but I am slowly opening up to the possibility that I can.


If Baby Sis and skilt-wearing men are involved, I'm definitely in.

The End.