Tuesday, April 26, 2011


During my recent weekend visit to the Tidewater, I took the kids to a couple of the local beaches so I could take some photos and they could run around.  OK, so Big Sis doesn't run, she just looks all broody and draws "I Love Brent" in the sand 50 Brazillian times.  The Brat Child runs, but only until he spots the next glorious and priceless treasure on the sand. 

This time it was feathers and dead crabs.

Because his hands were full of crab shells, the Brat Child decided to use my sweatshirt pocket to hold his feathers.   While we walked along the beach, we came upon a dead seagull.  It wasn't really recognizable as a seagull except for a few long beautiful flight feathers left attached to the skeleton.

The Brat Child and I saw the skeletized remains at the same time and I said, "You are NOT putting that in my pocket!"

The Brat Child continued kicking at the feathers in the hopes of kicking one or two loose.  Because maybe if one came loose I might then let him put it in my pocket.  And because I've poked my share of dead things been curious about things I find, I let him make his attempts.  When he leaned in closer to take a better look I reminded him, "I mean it.  No skeletons in my pocket!"

The Brat Child is not phased by skeletons in his pockets.
Or his hands.

We also came across a Mermaid's Necklace which is really a whelk's egg case.  After explaining to the Brat Child what it was and what was in it, he added that to his collection. 
"What are you going to do with that?" I wondered.
"I'm gonna hatch dem eggs," he answered matter-of-factly like I'm an idiot who didn't realize that you can hatch whelk eggs via incubation.
Can't wait for the next walk.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Meditation

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
- Nelson Mandela

before and after- The oak tree at the boat ramp.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Many people have asked how they can help those affected by the tornado so here is some information regarding donations, etc.

According to the Deltaville Blog:
  Will and Bonnie Vest, in conjunction with the Deltaville Community Association (DCA), are donating a portion of their office building which houses Long & Foster Realtors and the Deltaville Man Cave, as well as a Ted's Shed storage unit behind the office as the official collection site for bottled water, non-perishable food items, clothing, and household furnishings. Any unused items will be donated to the Deltaville Rescue Squad Thrift Store. If you have any items to be donated, or have a need for items, please contact Will at 804-370-0265 or Bonnie at 804-339-5282. The physical address is 17457 General Puller Highway, Deltaville, VA 23043.

This information is provided by The Daily Press:

Deltaville will be closed to non-residents from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. through Friday morning.

Operation Blessing is coordinating clean-up relief in the Deltaville area. If you wish to volunteer, go to Phillipi Christian Church, 17276 General Puller Highway, at 8:30 a.m. wearing long pants and close-toed shoes. Tools will be provided. If you need assistance with debris removal, contact Operation Blessing at 757-274-8650.

Gloucester residents can call the Office of Emergency Management at 804-693-1390. Clothing donations should be taken directly to the Salvation Army.

The Red Cross, Salvation Army and Community Emergency and Response Team personnel are assisting people in need with food, water and shelter vouchers. The contact information for American Red Cross is 804-642-9478.

Red Cross chapters will accept donations for disaster relief efforts in Isle of Wight, Gloucester, Middlesex and James City counties.

The following businesses have offered to contribute money in the following ways:

Jeff Cherry Design and Photography
     Donating 20% of all sales from their online gallery to the Deltaville relief fund! When ordering use the offer code “Sentinel”.

Cloud 9 Photography
  Cloud 9 Digital Imagery is offering special pricing on all of their photos in their online galleries in an effort to raise money for our local community. Get some sweet photos and help with the relief effort at the same time!

Tee's T Shirts
  Tee's is selling an "I Love Deltaville" T Shirt to help raise money to rebuild the pool, pool buildings, tennis courts and playground.  100% of the money made from these shirts goes to the fund.  Shirts will be sold for $12 at Tee’s T-Shirts in Deltaville beginning Friday, April 29. Businesses can also sponsor shirts.  Please contact Jenny at 804-815-4215 for more information.
 Again, THANK YOU! for all the thoughts, prayers, well wishes, offers of help, etc.  It means a lot to know there is such a large group of caring people! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The More Things Change...

...the more they stay the same.

The one thing that I am amazed at through all this tornado drama is how some things are left untouched amidst all the destruction.

Take the items from the shed for example:
 At first glance it probably appears to be a jumbled mess.  But this is pretty much what the inside of the shed looked like before the tornado hit (really).  My surprise is that winds crazy enough to take the shed away left items such as a mesh laundry bag full of sand toys, a whiffle ball bat, the Brat Child's fishing rod, foam noodles, lawn chairs, etc. You would think that these items would have been sucked up with the walls and roof.  I'm glad they weren't as the fishing rod was also used by Big Sis and some of those sand toys belonged to my cousin and I as kids.

Remember the church that was destroyed?  There's a cemetery right next to it.

Just a small parking lot away and yet ALL the flowers and wreaths are sitting exactly where they were left.
Someone also pointed out to me that the large tree next to the hole is untouched as are the handicap parking signs.

The kayak and garbage can both under the deck where they were left. 
And neither is tired to anything.

The porch swing with debris all around and yet not a mark on it and not a sticks or leaf on it either.

The house behind the dish was condemned and the house just to the left of the dish was condemned and yet here stands the dish.

Most important to me is a rather odd birdhouse made by my late grandparents from an old coffee pot. 
I was certain it had, at the very least, fallen from the tree. 
 I called my mom to ask if she had seen it lying around in the debris. 
I was astonished it was still attached to the tree. 
And the tree it's attached to is one of few that is OK.

When the world has fallen down around you, it's the small seemingly insignificant sentimental things that mean the most.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our House- Not So Very Very Fine

Our place is the house under the trees just to the left of the boat
(the boat is the neighbor's and another piece of the boat was found a little further up the road).

The front of the house.

Side of the house where the majority of the damage was located.

The back of the house.

The new skylight in the master bedroom.

Removing the trees.

Tarping the roof.

Our new landscaping.

The final decision regarding the house is that is it fine and needs a new roof.  The decks will be repaired, the debris removed, we get new carpeting and vinyl flooring (which we needed prior to the tornado), a new grill, new bedroom set, new shed... on and on. 
We were lucky and fared better than some of our neighbors:

That's a house in the creek

Thanks to everyone for their prayers, thoughts and kind words.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Bright Side

Sunrise on the Rappahannock

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it
the seed of an equal or greater benefit.
~Napoleon Hill
 Last night I learned that the tornado that went through Deltaville was classified as an F2 tornado.  If you factor in emotional devastation along with the physical devastation, it's more like an F150 (I know the Fujita Scale only goes to 5).
The following diagram shows the path of the tornado and the areas with damage.  The area with all the overlapping red dots surrounded by all the overlapping yellow dots is Jackson Acres.  That's where our house is.
Today we learn if our house will be salvageable or if it will be condemned.  According to another adjuster who was discussing a separate matter with my father (we currently have someone's boat in our field and the adjuster was there for that particular claim), modular homes typically end up being condemned when sustaining the damage our house sustained because they can't take certain stress like a stick built dwelling.

So why did I title this post the bright side?  Because despite everything we've lost (and seriously, there's a lot for me to cry about), there's a lot to gain.  A new house would mean less work for my dad.  There wouldn't be a need for the repairing and repainting and reflooring of the house that is currently there.  In fact, the weekend before the tornado, we were in Deltaville and we were all talking about the things needed to be done around the house.  My father commented he wished they had looked around more for a little better place.  Well, now perhaps we can.

And if the house stays, that's great too.  We already know the decks all have to be replaced.  Normally that would suck, but we've talked for years how we wished we had made the back deck bigger to wrap around to the side door.  Now we have that option. 

The shed is gone.  Dad wanted a new one.  Now the insurance will be buying us one (now if we can only keep it organized and spider free we'll be good).  Sweet!

We've lost pretty much all of our trees.  The ones that are still standing have the top half broken off so they have to come down too.  I am trying not to think about the trees as they were very large and very old and very much a part of our place (I'm a tree hugger- the loss of the trees upsets me).  Still, there is a bright side to that as well.  The last weekend we were there, my dad and I were discussing growing grass.  Not that kind of grass, the kind for a lush green lawn.  I told him that unless we remove trees we won't ever have a nice lawn because there's too much shade and also because the trees pull all available moisture from the ground during dry times thereby killing the grass.  Well, now we have full sun and can grow a nice green lawn.  And with the amount of firewood we now have, we will be able to have bonfires for life.  In fact, my great-great-great grandchildren will be using the wood for bonfires.  And I love a good bonfire.

So, despite all that we've lost, we have so much to gain. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Miracle Monday

Today I'm changing the typical Monday programming in lieu of the devastating tornado that went through Deltaville this past Saturday evening. 

Today we're going to talk miracles.

This is the Zoar Baptist Church at the intersection of Route 33 and Jackson Farm Lane.
And this is the pool located directly across Jackson Farm Lane from the church.

I borrowed both photos from the Southside Sentinel who got them from a resident. 

Neither of these photos do much to portray exactly how much damage there was. 
Think $6.1 million worth of damage.
Remember that there are no basements in Deltaville.
People took cover in their homes wherever they could.
Rappahannock General Hospital prepared for mass casualties.
They received NONE.
There were no deaths in Deltaville. 
There were no serious injuries in Deltaville.
People walked out of their flattened houses with scrapes and scratches.
The cemetery next to the church above still had all of the flowers on the graves.
The Deltaville Ballpark was untouched and is 100% OK.
Several people stated that the fact that no one had died, no one was missing and no one seriously injured was truly a miracle.
My mother spoke with the Pastor of the church that was destroyed.  He and his wife were in the Parsonage (the white house behind the church). 
They thought they would be safer in the church as it is a solid brick structure. 
And that's where they went to ride out the storm.
Both were okay.
And the painting of Jesus located above the alter was unscathed.
(the parsonage was untouched while the church was destroyed- amazing)
There were also stories about pets.
One dog was sucked out a window and found unhurt.
And our neighbor's dog Rita who was thought to be dead, found alive but ran off has been loacted.
She had some cuts but was fine and her owner sent her home with a friend.

This is aerial footage of the Jackson Acres community where our house is located.
When you watch this video of the damage, keep in mind there were NO casualties. 
People walked away from this. 
I do want to make mention of our neighboring community of Gloucester, VA that was also hit by a/the tornado.  Unfortunately, 3 people lost their lives and others suffered injuries- some major.  And I also want to mention those in Bertie County, NC where 4 others died. 
Thoughts and prayers go out to those who were so harshly affected.

There will be many many photos to post and blog about once my parents return. 
My mother is serving as my roving reporter and photographer.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This is not a Test!

Last night my family and I went out to dinner because we lost power at home.  While waiting to order, my dad's phone rang and after seeing who was calling said, "This isn't going to be good." It wasn't.

Our Deltaville neighbor was calling to tell us that tornadoes had come through Deltaville and we had a tree on top of our house there.  We were fortunate.  Our neighbor is missing his roof, several out buildings, his carport and his dog.  He knows the dog is alive as he was able to locate her, however, she took off before he could catch her. 

I immediately checked on those I knew and loved down in the area.  Thankfully they were all OK and had missed the tornadic activity.  And I am thankful to them for offering their help in any form they could- opening their homes to my parents who are headed down there, spreading the word, sharing information...  Once more I realize how blessed I am to have found such good people!

In the meantime, we received another call from a cousin who's wife and daughter were there in Deltaville.  They were lucky and had no damage to their home.  They said the tornado sounded like a freight train just as it's always described.  And it left behind a mess.  Several homes no longer have rooves.  There are some large pines that have been snapped off.  One house near the boat ramp is gone.  Just- gone.  The church at the end of the road was destroyed and according to the information we got, there were people screaming for help in that area.  Our cousin said his wife and daughter were unable to get to the area where our house is because of the large amount of debris. 

At last report, the road into Deltaville was impassable after the Deltaville Market (who I heard stayed open to serve Emergency Workers- kudos to you!).  I have not heard about other areas of the town.  The information I have is only for the very small Jackson Acres community on Jackson Farm Lane and Sturgeon Point Loop.

Gloucester was also hit by tornadoes last night at the same time as Deltaville.  Unfortunately, 3 deaths have been reported there along with some severe damage to schools and homes.

Please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers and if you live nearby and have a chainsaw and some gas... I'm sure there's more than enough to cut up.

And again THANK YOU to everyone who has offered to help and who has been spreading the word.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hijinx in Mathews County

I had the good fortune of being able to attend the to-do over at Chesapeake Bay Woman's house this past Saturday.  As promised, there was food in the form of Noe Noe's famous Shrimp Bawl and a salad prepared by CBMumma with lettuce from her garden.
Noe Noe hamming it up with an actual
 Womanless Beauty Pageant Contestant in the background
(CBW gets all the local celebrities at her parties)

Somehow the theme of the evening went from "man-pigs" to "everyone must wear a hat". 
There were funky cowboy hats, coonskin caps, chef hats...


and of course crab hats.
Here were have DJ Jazzy J and the Fresh Princess... or Danielle Boone

Noe Noe has such a sparkling personality

CBMumma choosing flowers for our center piece. 
What you don't see is hiding behind that grass.

Love those fuzzy pink slippers!
Which also sport silver claws MEOW!

And because I love her, I respectfully did not post the video of Noe Noe's
strip tease which also features Baby Sis and a cast off belt.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Meditation


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

~William Ernest Henley


Friday, April 8, 2011


Today I am headed south to Deltaville for some much needed R&R.  While there I plan on heading over to Chesapeake Bay Woman's place for a shindig that will include several other Blisters (blog+sister) from the area and maybe if we're lucky, some from out of town. 

I am certain there will be some of this:
(great food)

Some of this:
(because Chockit-shakes are sort of on the way to CBW's house
if I drive past her house then turn around and go back to her house)

Some of this:
(people in crab hats though not in the water because I like CBW and wouldn't want her to get hypothermia)

Some of this:

(great friends and people running around saying things like "O-M-G!" and "Oh HELL yeah!")

and a whole lotta this:

See y'all Monday once I've returned and recovered.
(with hopefully lots of new photos and blog post ideas)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


This past summer while on our yearly vacation, we learned that some of our friends from home (home being up north in Maryland) were staying at the Grey's Point Campground/RV Park.  It was decided we would meet up in Kilmarnock for some bowling at the new Kilmarnock Entertainment Center.

This was the Brat Child's first time bowling.

  He loved the shoes. 

He also is a big fan of bumpers. 

We all were big fans of the bumpers. 

There was a lot of laughter,

a lot of chatting and

a lot of bonding. 
Thanks to the bumpers, there weren't a lot of gutter balls. 
So next time you're in the area and you're bored or it's raining, head over the bridge to Kilmarnock and
strap on some snappy shoes.