Archive for January, 2011



Winter in my soul

is bleak and bare.

My blood has frozen

fast as the smile on my face.

Spring will never come.

Where are You

in winter? I rage.

You are nowhere.

You’re wrong, He says.

I’m everywhere.

There is life in frozen blood and

a smile signals spring:

My seasons never cease.

Winter is bleak and bare–but beautiful

even in your soul.

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Warm Springs, VA

Once upon a time there lived an engineer who worked for a power company.  He was a rambler…by trade, not by choice…and he trotted off thither and yon to keep Virginian lights shining and Virginian microwave ovens cooking.

As often as he could (but never often enough), he took his wife with him in his travels.

Which is how she found herself curled up in a Victorian wingbacked chair in front of a cheery fireplace in the little mountain town of Warm Springs, VA…with snow falling softly outside and no husband in sight.

Come home, husband!  Come home before 7 inches of snow snow you in the power plant and snow me in the B&B!

Not that she would mind being snowed into the B&B.  But she would mind it very much if she were snowed in the B&B with no husband.

  First of all, they were in a round room.

And everyone knows that round rooms cannot be enjoyed nearly as much alone as with one’s husband.

Second of all, the round room came with a fireplace.


And everyone knows that fireplaces are a husband’s prerogative.

Thirdly, the room had a hot tub.  And if that hot tub wasn’t meant to be shared with one’s husband, then the poor wife didn’t know what was.

In desperation at the thought of all this and no husband, the woman jumped up from her seat, donned her coat, and ran to the nearest parking lot.

No husband.

She started up the little country road at a jaunt.

No husband in the ivy.

Look!  A snowflake on the camera lens!  But alas, no husband in the stream.

Nor at the courthouse…

Nor at the library…

Nor walking beside her in the street…

Nor in the field…

Nor in the town…

Nor back inside where she hung her wet things…

Nor anywhere!

Suddenly the shrill ringing of her phone filled the room.

Wife, it’s husband.  I’m just about to leave the station!  I’m coming home to you!

Husband, be safe.  Be careful.  Drive slow.  Come home to me so we can walk together down the street past the ivy and the stream and the museum and the library and the field and then back into our own cozy little Silo where we can hang our wet things and snuggle by the fire.

I want to be snowed in the B&B with you.

The Gristmill Inn of Warm Springs, VA is not paying me to advertise their facilities, nor do they even know I exist.  In fact, the cleaning lady was quite surprised to see me when she came to make the bed (Tim always books through his company, so I hardly ever even get mentioned).  But Tim and I have stayed here many times, in many quaint and beautiful rooms, and we love the place (even if this is the first time we’ve had a hot tub).  There’s a pool and tennis courts in the summer (okay, they’re there in the winter, too, but just not, shall we say, functional); a breakfast-in-bed (delivered either the evening before or the morning of, depending on preference) that comes in a cute little basket and includes some sort of freshly baked pastry, juice, and coffee or milk; an attached restaurant that Tim tells me is expensive but good (I’ve never been, as he always takes me to the cheap Italian place down the road a bit… 🙂 ); an abundance of nearby hiking and boating and skiing and fishing opportunities; a little fridge; Direct TV; patchy cell phone service; lots of clear air and quiet; free wireless internet; no fast food or traffic lights; and tons of beautiful scenery. In fact, the only thing that they don’t have (or at least, I haven’t discovered yet) is a microwave (today for lunch I had cold, leftover steak and mushrooms.  Could have been worse, but sure could have been better)!  It’s not the Budget Inn (it’s higher in both price and quality), but if you’re looking for a relaxing little getaway with loads of rustic charm…it’s the perfect spot!

UPDATE: between the writing of this post and its posting, Tim did indeed take me to the Waterwheel Restaurant.  It was nice, quaint, and lovely.  The service was very good.  The Virginia Bourbon Pecan Pie is to die for…even at $6.50/pop.  That’s all I know.


Kentucky Winter


In Kentucky, there is beauty behind every tree and a drug dealer up every holler.

It is a state which Tim and I frequent frequently.

Why, you ask? Hint: not for the drug abuse.

These are my parents, fellow Coloradans who moved to Kentucky right about the time I moved to Virginia.

We like to visit them when we get a chance, plus we love exchanging the city for the mountains for a bit.  Nice place, this Kentucky.

…in pictures.

In reality? It’s been the War On Poverty’s target for over fifty years. 

I’ve been pondering lately a Biblical model of charity (a good thing to do when one plans to open a non-profit thrift store for charitable purposes).  We all know we should care for the poor and needy.  But how?  From my brief brush with Kentucky culture, I’m more and more convinced that government handouts are not the answer…nor well-meant Christian handouts, neither. 

“Go and make disciples” might be a better motto–as Peter puts it, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.”  Life after death, hope amid suffering, the exceeding riches of grace showered on destitute, depraved men…served up with a side of job skills, some money-management training, and maybe a work ethic course or two with a cup of cold water in Christ’s name thrown in to boot.

What do you think?  Should I start carrying bottled water in my car instead of loose change for the woman on the corner of Staples Mill and Glenside?  Should I (gasp) pull over and talk awhile, ask her story?  Tell her mine?  Find out what she’s good at?  Offer her a couple hours work in exchange for a gift card to Kroger?

How do you practice charity?

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I’m stuck in the doldrums because:

  1. All further deal scouting for Secondhand Chance has been put on hold until we can get our act a bit more together on the legal front.  Boo.  Paperwork, me no like you.  Despite my aversion, and with much help from Tim, we’ve drafted our Articles of incorporation and are working on Bylaws.  Anyone know a good lawyer (preferably familiar with nonprofits) who would be willing to read them over for us?  The sooner, the better: I want to get back to my shopping.
  2. I made some amazing meals this week (including chicken tortilla soup, chicken pot pie and the best beef roast I’ve ever tasted), but they’ve all been eaten and the fridge is as empty as our cookie jar…and I’ve used all my reserves of kitchen energy.  Cheesecake Factory to the rescue tonight (yay!), but I still have to come up with something for lunch.
  3. Friday is my cleaning day, and right now I really wish it weren’t.
  4. I’m dissecting a frog (or two) in class on Monday, but (a) my specimens haven’t arrived yet ((HURRY up, mail man!)) and (b) I haven’t dissected a frog in approximately six and a half years.  Yikes.  That’s all I can say.
  5. Tim is going out of town AGAIN next week.  Phhhhhhhhhhhhhhht.
  6. My muscles hurt (a) from hunching over taking too many clothing photographs, (b) from riding Pop’s stationary bike, (c) from sleeping with two pillows, and/or (d) for no explainable reason at all.
  7. It’s supposed to drop to 14 degrees tonight.  And stay there.  All weekend long.
  8. I forgot to take my multivitamin.
  9. I’m out of chocolate.
  10. This blog post is lame.

The end.


A Thrift Store By Any Other Name Wouldn’t Smell As Sweet

Naming is tough business.  It’s so…permanent.  It’s so…defining.  It’s so…scary.

But I am a name generating machine.

I love naming things.  I love thinking of clever wordplays (like DoubleKnotted–see my little paragraph bio on the righthand side of the screen).  Such things sort of just spew out of my head like lava from a volcano.  Which is why naming this ol’ thrift store of mine had me so flummoxed–I had to wait…and wait….and wait for inspiration to strike.

I thought it never would.

I thought my whole idea was on its way down the drain for lack of a Good Name.  A Good Name is hard to find, after all, and a thrift store without one is doomed to failure from the start.

Then one midnight about a month into planning, Tim was jolted awake by my triumphant cry. 

“What about ___________?!” I was blabbering excitedly.  “What do you think?  Do you like it?  Is it good?  Will you help me remember it until morning?”

Poor Tim.  He puts up with so much from me and loves me anyway (which, by the way, is the secret to our long year of marriage, in case anyone was curious).

We still liked our New Name even after about 7 hours of sleep, so we figured it was a keeper…but if I thought my troubles were over as soon as I picked The Name, I was wrong. 

I got up the next morning, danced a jig, and sat down at the computer–where to my horror I met my next foe:

The Logo.


These things are ten times worse than the monsters under our bed (which in my case, look remarkably like dust bunnies).

Twelve million billion drafts later (which, by the way, is as high as I can count)…we had a winner.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you:


Let There Be Light

For Christmas, Uncle Ken and Aunt Susan gave Pop light.

Or at least, they gave him the money to buy some.

See, the attic room where we stashed our grandfather is perfect…except for one small thing–there are no light fixtures on one side of the room and no electrical outlets neither.  Which wouldn’t be a problem if you used that side of the room for oh, say, closet space.  But since Pop has a card table set up on that end of the room on which to sort photos and slides and such things–it’s a bit of an issue.

Yesterday, we all went to Lowes with Uncle Ken’s gift card in tow to find the light.

It was not an easy task.  Lowes has miles and miles of light fixtures (okay, well, two full aisles at least).  But Pop found what he wanted, Tim checked to make sure it was made to fit a 4×4 electrical box, and that was that!  Problem solved.  No big deal.

We get home, open the box, and realize the screw mount is too short to fit into the ceiling.


Tim runs back to Lowes to find a screw mount extender (yes, they do make such a thing!).

He returns, and proceeds to expertly install the new light fixture.  While he connects wires, I hold the light fixture up to the ceiling until my arms fall off, at which point Tim calls 911.  Pop holds the flashlight.

(Tim did not really call 911.  But I am 99.9% positive that my arms, indeed, fell off.)

After some manner of finangling, we secure the light to the ceiling.

We flip the switch.


Nothing happens.

We discover that the globes prevent the bulbs from fitting all the way into the sockets.

So we remove the globes, reposition the light bulbs, and whala!

We flip the switch.

The room floods with light!  Pop is thrilled.  He immediately sits down to sort through some photos and write in his journal.  He reports glowingly of the visual ease with which he accomplishes both tasks.  He specially requests that Friday dinner be served at our house so that the rest of the local family can come admire these little lights of his.

And we all lived happily ever after.

Thanks, New Mexico Markens!

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Children’s Clothes


Well, time is marching on and so are my thrift store plans!  This week, I started amassing inventory.  This might be slightly peremptory, seeing as I have yet to even begin to file for nonprofit status or program my website–but hey, I did finally come up with a name and a logo (both of which I’ll share the very minute I purchase my domain, which will hopefully be tomorrow), which I figured was cause enough for celebration.
So celebrate I did: I called up Tim’s cousin and told her to meet me at Salvation Army ASAP for a spending spree. 
We walked in, and a clerk says to us, “Hi!  The entire store is 50% off today.”  Oh, sweet music, music to my ears. 
50% off?!  Our jaws drop. We think our ears are deceiving us.  But they’re not.  So we get busy.
103 items of clothing and 3 hours later…we have to leave because I have two hungry men waiting at home and no dinner plans.

Above are just a few of our great finds for children.  To see more, click here and you’ll be redirected to my online photo album, where I have all my current stock of children’s clothing listed (I’ll be working on adding to my Maternity and Dress albums early next week with sizing, pricing, and new products, plus I’ll be starting a Scrub and Shirt album soon–so keep checking out my whole page!).  If you peruse my selection, you’ll notice that each photo is labeled with a number, which just so happens to be its item number, which just so happens to help me keep track of which size 4 girls dress is which.  You’ll find product information and a price in the photo’s description if that photo’s name is a whole number (the .2s and .3s don’t have any description info).  If you see something you want, contact me with the item #.  We aren’t up and running yet, so I can’t promise great (read: prompt) customer service…but since you are friends and family and blog readers whom I love, I’m offering you first dibs on anything you see.  Plus, it helps me work through any kinks.  I’ll just keep a running account like the old days, ship you your stuff, and we can settle up as soon as Tim helps me get an operative website complete with online payment options up and running.  Initially, most of the profit will be reinvested in new inventory, so your money probably won’t go straight to Show Hope (the adoption fund we hope to contribute too…more on them in a few weeks)–but in the long run, you will be making the whole idea possible, so in that sense you would majorly be supporting a great cause.  In fact, you could consider yourself a founder of this little online thrift store…and if you’re really lucky you might get nominated to board of directors (since I learned yesterday that I have to have one of those to form a nonprofit corporation). 

Oh, and please continue to leave me any thoughts/comments/feedback–I’ve appreciated your help SO MUCH!