as resolutions go …

I really didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year … other than I wanted to write more, write better, and underlying that, to be more perceptive and to be more conscious of events and topics that excite my interest.

patscat0001The proposition occurred to me that I should write daily, and perhaps I should, but that seems a bit more contrived that I wanted.  I know that advice to would-be writers by writers is to write, write, write.  And I get that.  Practice may not make perfect but it does give one more experience expressing precisely what is intended.

I do write almost daily … mostly newsletters and blogs from some of my volunteer organizations … not creative, though I try to be creative enough to invite interest.  I know … no one reads newsletters.  But by Jove … there must be newsletters.

So, I am resolved to write more, more frequently, more intensely, more personally.

And yes, I do plan to exercise more.

a different world before daybreak

Jack and I walked a bit earlier this Sunday morning than usual.  It was the approximately the same time we had walked just a few weeks ago before the time change, but now with the legislated time change it  was just before sunrise.  In keeping with the clock or rather my iphone I had walked at our usual time the last couple of weeks, hence in the daylight.

We stepped out into the 32 degree Fahrenheit morning with just a last gasp of moon overhead. Yes, chilly and dark.  We only walk a mile plus or so when Jack and I walk. At age 9 or 10 he is becoming a stiff Australian Shepherd and I am fairing only slightly better so we take only leisurely, sniffing, and listening walks.

Immediately, I became aware of how quiet it was — no sound of traffic from the major roadways a few miles from my place.  At least it seemed quiet for a while.  Behind the Woith’s place came the startling sound of an owl, taking just a moment for me to realize it was an owl’s screech, not a woman screaming. About a half mile or so down the road a rooster began his morning concert.  And then there was the clomph-clomph-clumph sound behind me which I recognized immediately.

Mr. Ed (that is my name for a neighbor’s white horse) and Chester had come to the fence line to say good morning and see if I had any nibbles for them.  I don’t feed my neighbor’s animals. but horses can be demanding and forgetful.  We are pretty tame in my area. Horses, a pot bellied pig who caused considerable excitement on one of our walks, roosters and hens, goats, dogs both big and small, and the odd horse or two are our only population of critters to be encountered on our walks … if you don’t count the wildlife … possums, raccoons, deer, turkeys, snakes (not so much this time of year).

I did say hello to Mr. Ed.  He is always a gentlemen and I rubbed his muzzle and spoke softly to him.  Chester … well, Chester is a nibbler.  Maybe they are love bites, but they hurt so I give Chester, the Scotland Pony, a wide berth.

Jack and I continued down the road, made our turn at Route 10 and began our return. Chester and Mr. Ed had moved on into the darkness of their pasture.  The rooster and the owl had obviously gone back to sleep.  Jack and I were rewarded with a glorious sunrise as we made the turn and headed east toward home.




things of the past … stick shifts and cursive writing

I awoke to the news that Fidel Castro had passed away.  Another event that seemingly is sharing the arc of my life.  I was only 9 or 10 when he ‘liberated’ Cuba and subsequently visited the UN.  Huntley and Brinkley covered him on the evening news and my memory is that he was impressive in his beard and fatique-green uniform. Other things that have disappeared … Huntley – Brinkley (both long passed) and fatigues. … all tactical military uniforms now are black, desert sand, or some variation of cammo.  We won’t even address the Eisenhower jacket.

Other things are disappearing … cursive writing, multiplication tables, parsing and diagramming sentences. Door keys, hardcopy receipts at stores (“we’ll email your receipt”), irons (I don’t know where mine is), wrinkles in clothing for that matter, toll takers at toll booths, parking lot attendants, cars that need drivers … all of these things or people are gone or quickly disappearing.

This morning the paper reported that for cars that still require drivers, the manual or stick shift transmission is a thing of the past.  Most manufacturers don’t even offer the option of a stick shift, not even Ferrari.


Fall, however, is still with us every year, at least until the tipping point of climate change.  Jack and I enjoyed a bit of chill in the air this morning on our walk and the stiff breeze has quickly dislodged bushels of the fading leaves.

a persimmon mini adventure

“Do you like persimmons?”

There are many food adventures in Prince George.  Our fair consists of vinegar based barbecue, pizza, subs, and other Americanized Italian cuisine. You know, heavy on pasta and light on roasted veggies and meat.  Yes, here and there is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collards.

To date, my only food mystery occurred one Fall morning on Old Stage Road.  Ahead I noticed something on the center line.  I feared it was an injured animal.  As I approached it didn’t move and as I drew closer, I realized it was a rotisserie chicken still in its domed supermarket container. Hmmm. Lots of interesting questions there.

15241200_1460097260667878_8456797020690587720_nThis week I have had another questionable food adventure.  Approaching Ft. Lee via the Golf Course gate, I noticed that the guard was rubbing something against his vest.  I handed him my military ID through the card window and noticed that the orange thing in his hand was not an orange.  He looked at my ID, then at me, asked whether I liked persimmons.  I told him I didn’t know.  So he handed me what I now know is a persimmon and said Happy Thanksgiving.

I am contemplating the persimmon and the possible reason he would have for holding a persimmon while on duty.

notes from an urban effete … not

Many of my facebook and twitter ‘friends’ are reposting articles written from the purported perspective of the stereotypical Trump supporter.  You know most of their adjectives …

rural, religious, unemployed, employed but insecure, limited education, limited transferable skills, religious, middle American, white,  male, real-men loving women with similar adjectives, outsiders, now former outsiders, residents of fly-over country, racist

Many of these articles or opinions are lambasting ‘us’ for ‘them’ having to vote for “a Donald Trump”.  Their adjectives for ‘us’  … those who supported Hillary Clinton you probably also know …

urban, irreligious, or contemptuous of religion, wealthy, over-educated, well-employed, stably employed, elite, coastal, insiders, now out-siders, multicultural

So in blaming us for them voting for and electing Trump we are apprised of their revenge vote to show us their contempt … for us.

So yes, the religious right has elected the penultimate east coast, irreligious, serial adulteror, all money is green, insider to be the President of the United States.  Well done, my vindictive countrymen and women.

And thank you for helping me understand less than ever about the American psyche because …

I supported Hillary Clinton.  I am from a rural, working class family in middle America.  I determined early in life that if I wanted options in my life, I needed an education.  I needed an education and skills so that I could always support myself and to help me grasp the world at large.  I worked my way through college and a few scholarships and stipends helped with that.

My husband and I met and married while still in college.  He also is from a working class family in middle America.

We finished college, had our daughter, and he, an Army ROTC scholarship recipient, went into the Army during the Viet Nam era.  During his military career, I worked in various professional level jobs as we traveled from one Army posting to another.  During those years I continued to work on graduate level degrees until finally receiving a law degree.

After my husband’s retirement from the Army he also updated his graduate level education and,  while building a career  in the IT field,  he continually upgraded his certifications and education, often at our own expense so he could stay flexible and current in his professional role.  This helped him survive many corporate reorganizations and downsizings.

I have been self-employed for almost all of my legal career and had to face the ups and downs of a small business in changing economic times.

While we do live in Virginia, I would not consider us coastal.  We live in a bucolic, mostly rural and somewhat agricultural county.  We are certainly not urban, nor elite.

The only adjective described by the ‘them’ that I proudly wear is that of irreligious.  I am a proud atheist, but I don’t think anyone who knows me would label me as immoral or unworthy of respect.

So, ‘them’, throw any mud you wish.  I accept responsibility for my place in life, in the world. I choose not to blame others for my choices. I certainly don’t blame you for the fact that I am not wealthy, worldly, or elite.






We Need A Government For Us

Happy to repost this blog from Rick Cooley.  I don’t agree with him on everything, but I am in total accord that our fourth estate is failing miserably in its duty to inform and be a clear-eyed reporter of the issues and players in our governmental and cultural milieu.

The recent conduct of business as usual in Washington, particularly the government shutdown caused by failure to pass a budget and the impending default that may result due to a failure to raise th…

Source: We Need A Government For Us

Apprentices filling workforce need at Rolls-Royce plant in Prince George

This article surprised me.  I am fairly informed about opportunities in the County, but was totally unaware of the apprenticeship program. it seems like a great opportunity for Prince Georgians.  Why not, Rolls Royce is in Prince George County.

“As Rolls-Royce North America continues to equip the latest expansion of its Prince George County plant with high-tech machinery, the company also is recruiting people into an apprenticeship program for manufacturing precision aircraft components.”

Source: Apprentices filling workforce need at Rolls-Royce plant in Prince George

What if Petersburg became a town?

Prince-GeorgeThere have been a number of articles recently in both the Richmond Times-Dispatch and in the Petersburg Progress-Index noting that Petersburg leaders are quietly discussing reversion as a slight, but not likely, possibility. Surrounding counties are also discussing the aspect of such a reversion, Prince George included.

In reversion a city, if it meetings threshold requirements, may become a town within the county in which it is located. Three cities have already reverted South Boston, Clifton Forge, and Bedford.  South Boston was finally allowed to revert after Halifax County had unsuccessfully fought off the reversion in court.

Basically, when a town reverts it melts back into its county, retaining a town council, certain town officials and other distinct privileges.  This is after a petition to the General Assembly and a special court appointed by the Supreme Court of Virginia to evaluate the merits of the reversion case and to determine the particulars about how debt, taxation, and other matters will be transitioned.

But were Petersburg were to revert … to which county would it melt into?  Ostensibly, originally Petersburg came out of Prince George County which was created by royal grant in 1703.  Petersburg was incoporated in 1748.  Chesterfield County was created in 1749 and Petersburg later was enlarged.  Did that come 28 acres come from Prince George or Chesterfield. It was one or the other because Dinwiddie County was not created until 1762. Of course, there were subsequent annexations from Prince George and Dinwiddie in the centuries which followed.  All of these dates are from Wikipedia and are used only for illustrative purposes to denote the convoluted history of our counties and the City of Petersburg.

A big task might be to determine what parts of Petersburg revert to which counties and aneighborshorseswhich counties have the economic resources and population to absorb which parts of Petersburg?  Petersburg might become the first town in Prince George in Prince George County. That would end the pride I have in telling family and friends who live in other states that Prince George County has no towns or cities.  We have goats, cows, and horses such as those who belong to my neighbors.

Stay tuned.



I visited the Prince George county offices this week to return a meeting room key.  A routine matter I have performed many times.  On this visit I decided to park in the far corner of the lot in front of the courthouse.  There was shade to keep the car cooler and a chance to get in a few more steps.

On my somewhat shortly lengthened journey I crossed over the memorial square with its unsheltered benches and fountains, all dedicated to deserving families and loved ones. I found, again, the paver donated by the Prince George Democratic Committee.  I then remembered  that once before I had seen a paver that intrigued me, but couldn’t exactly remember why.  About 25 minutes later I found it.


Opechancanough, ? 1546 -1646.  Obviously, I assumed, Native American. Just today I remembered the paver and the photo I had taken.  I had been watching the PBS Fourth on the Mall celebration with no reference  to the peoples watching the Europeans disembarking on these shores.  On to Wikipedia, learning that Opechancanough was a Powhatan chief  of a major village along the Pawmunky during the arrival of the Jamestown settlers.  He was never enamored of or even very tolerant of the late comers in his midst.

How would he have vetted us (European immigrants) had he had the chance? Would he have been swayed by the arguments of freedom to travel, free trade, this land is your land, this land is my land rhetoric? Unlikely.

A greater mystery to me is who paid for this paver? I would like to know who made the effort to recognize that it is the Europeans and their slaves who are the immigrants.




the passing of titans

A reflective day in Prince George.  It is late spring and today will be sunny and perhaps in the 8os.  We have not had much sun in the last three weeks and sweaters have been the garment of choice.  So a day like today could be about getting out the mower and snips to tackle the yard, which is likely to happen at the Woodward estate later today.

Why the reflection?  A county icon has passed … Ben Kanak.  Ben was a second generation American farmer and businessman who, until late Fall, had still farmed the same farm he had inherited from his immigrant parents.  Born in 1922, Ben had ten siblings, all of whom he had survived.  He had survived his devoted wife, many decades his junior.  Ben was part of the flora and fauna of Prince George County.  It is hard to imagine the county without him in it.

He joins the other icons Henry Parker, Sam Bland, the Burens, Martin Robertson, John Minor, and Dennis Sebera, in being memories in our midst.

Kanak Farm 2

I thought of Ben almost daily because his farm is on the road between our home and the courthouse area of the county (we don’t have any cities or towns in Prince George) and because I know his 90 year old father-in-law and wife.  Whenever I passed his farm, I scoped out the fields to determine if he was out driving one of the large farm machines he piloted, or to see what he had planted.  Now, I pass his farm expecting to see him plowing or checking his mailbox near the road.  Now, I pass his farm wondering what will happen to his  beloved ‘Century Farm’ in this era of corporate farming and Youtube, and Starbucks.

Those who leave memories are still among us.