Saturday, March 30, 2013


“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
C S Lewis

Sunday, March 24, 2013

To DC and Back

Josh and I drove to DC for a Close Action battle with Mark Campbell. There was no snow while we were in DC, but it started snowing before we got to Fredericksburg, was covering the ground at Ashland, and was at "drive at 10-20mph and don't change lanes lest you slide" around Richmond. Cars spun out about every mile or so, some in ways with really made you question how they could manage to get that far off the road; and a lot of people were driving with their flashers on, as if the rest of us might not be aware of the snow. The road got a little clearer around Williamsburg but still had snow and ice all the way to the Bridge Tunnel; once we got to Norfolk, it was all rain. Overall, the weather added an hour or more to the trip--but seeing the trees all covered in winter white was well worth it.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Got a new table for the dining room.

More accurately--we got a wargame-sized table ! The previous one was 32x42, not sufficient for a decent sized map. This one is 42x72--not huge, but big enough for a respectable battle.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring and Snow

On the second day of Spring, we get....snow. None of it stuck, but I Am Offended.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Made my whole month's budget  with three sales today. Woot! Given that I already had a couple of decent sales, I've caught up for the shortfall in February. Yay!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I asked Josh what he wanted to do together while Diana was in Montreal, and he said he wanted to see some of the caves in the Shenandoah, so that's what we did. Drove up to Harrisonburg Friday night after work, talking with Josh about our D&D characters and having a good time; then in the morning (after a breakfast of waffles with sausage gravy), we headed north up I-81 to Shenandoah Caverns. It had snowed a couple of days before, and while the roads were clear, there was still snow on the mountain sides.
The Shenandoah tour was about an hour long, with Josh and I and two other people, and a fifteen year old freshman girl as the guide. The main things that struck me about this cave system was that it was bigger than I expected--more open space, only a couple of places where we had to mind the overhead, nowhere that we had to squeeze to get through--and it was wet. I'd thought it was from snowmelt and the rain of the preceding week, but the other caves didn't have nearly as much water. This one had plenty of opportunities for "cave kisses", which is what it's called when a droplet lands on you. They're supposed to bring good luck for a day, or a week, or a year, depending on which tour guide is telling you the tale. Made the loop, back to the elevator, up to the lobby, and away.
On to Luray, with a stop for camera batteries. Luray had tours going every fifteen minutes or so, and our tour had about 45 people in it. Same thing, draperies and stalactites and stalagmites and pools and such. There is a chasm, maybe 90 feet deep, along the pathway around Pluto's Ghost, and it's easy to imagine going over the edge (if the railing weren't in the way) and sliding down and being stuck there, with the goblins or the shuggoths or the creeping dark, whatever may be there. We didn't hear any drums, though. It was a long flight of stairs coming back up.
We drove down the valley to Grottoes, Virginia, home of Grand Caverns--not terribly well marked with signs, but we found it. This tour had around 15 people, and the guide was a college history student who seemed to be interested in the caves rather than just doing a job. Grand Caverns had another type of formation, called shields, and the whole cavern was in rock that was turned sideways--the strata were vertical instead of horizontal. Presumably the rock rotated during mountain building. Generally our guide interspersed cavern info with jokes--"here are the signatures from Civil War soldiers who were here. Since our cave got protected status, it's illegal to write on the walls now, and if you do it, you get a big fine....but I get a thousand dollar reward for turning you in, so let me know if you need a Sharpie", and "hat's a shield formation, the disc that looks like a pizza, extra cheesy, just like my jokes"--but there was one piece of really good showmanship. The guides turn the lights off as you leave an area, so algae doesn't grow. In this case, we come to a corner, and the way ahead is unlit. The guide tells us what he's going to do, then lights a candle and turns off the lights; it's impossible to see more than about twenty feet, anything beyond that just fades into darkness. And then he blows out the candle, and it's dark, dark, dark, and he talks for a minute or so, and it's completely black...and then the lights burst on for the hallway ahead, 300 feet long and 100 feet high, and impressive. Nicely done.
Near the end / beginning of the cave there are a couple of tiny bats, hibernating. At the entrance, there is a wildlife display with an otter, hawk, a couple of owls, and a black bear. Josh posed for a couple of "Bear with Bear" pics. And then we drove home. Good time together.