BMW’s, Bathing Suits, Barn Sales and Broken Vans…

In Loudoun County, Virginia there are NO Dodge Grand Caravans.

At least I didn’ t see any.  (And I looked!) BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Subaru, Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Volvo—these are the brands that clog the roads and highways in this neck of the woods.

Further, there is NO rust on cars. And really, there isn’t a recession down here.

My green van was an anomaly…(was being the operative word.)

Per the US Census of 2010, Loudoun County was ranked #1 in the USA for Highest Median Income.

My aunt lives in Leesburg, Virginia. And Leesburg is part of Loudoun County.

When I drove past a “Barn Sale” sign, I HAD to check it out. I know what I’ll find at a Barn Sale in Perry, Ohio. But a Loudoun County Barn Sale? I had to check it out.


It was a beautiful barn. On a gorgeous piece of property.

And I should have expected such a barn, after rolling down this long driveway. Then a quaint little, wood bridge.

If the Stunning property didn’t do it, surely one of the houses on the property (there were several…) should have been a clue.

Or the shiny, black BMW I passed on my way down the lane. Also, I parked by a scattering of very nice vehicles in a grassy field.

The Barn Sale?

Not much under $50. The furniture and antique items upwards of $500. I could understand if things were truly unique, but there wasn’t anything THAT special.

And there certainly weren’t any $1 items!!

Of course, I had just spent the previous day at the Luckett’s Spring Market that was nearby. Maybe that threw me off. Because the Spring Market was packed with stunning finds. It would be tough to compete with what I saw there.

Still…it seems that ‘Barn Sales’ are just different down here.

I didn’t buy anything. But I had the BEST time checking out the sale. People watching. Checking out the cars. Taking in the scene. Listening to conversations…

MORE AMUSING ANECDOTES from the Never-Ending trip.

The trip that isn’t over yet. After nearly two weeks, I’m still in Virginia.


Aunt Kate accidentally slipped on my sparkly, black flip-flops. And I heard her mumbling about how awful and uncomfortable they were. Next thing I knew, she bellowed up the steps…

Aunt Kate: I’m throwing your black flip-flops out.

And she did.


There were three dogs in the townhouse the past couple of weeks. We tried hard to keep it clean. Kept vacuuming couches.

But the Bailey the Beige Dog constantly slept on the Red couch. Leaving cream color hair all over the dark red couch.

Wouldn’t be so bad to vacuum the red couch.

But the The Little Black  neurotic Dog was constantly on the creamy beige suede couch. Leaving black hair ALL over it.


They could have at least snoozed on the couches that matched their fur.


Aunt Kate was thinking out loud while tapping away on her iPad. I was tapping away on my laptop. We were both distracted. (No surprise there…)

Aunt Kate: I’m going to need a new bathing suit.

Me: Hmmm… (I made as noise as I continued to type…)

Aunt Kate: That goes down to my knees…

Now she had my attention.

Aunt Kate: And down to my elbows.

We both chuckled. (She pointed to knees that aren’t quite what they used to be…)

Aunt Kate: You know like they used to wear in the old days…

Me: Actually, they might have had something there. With their modest bathing suits, long full length, sleeved cover-ups. Jaunty straw hats with the wide brims. Huge, dark sunglasses.

Like Audrey Hepburn…

Or this photo and the mood it sets…



Do we really need to see some of what we see at the beach??? It isn’t always as attractive as people think it is…

I accompanied Aunt Kate to her doctor’s appointment today. They ushered us into a room, I sat down and this sign was on the wall. Couldn’t miss it.

I concede that there was a bad snow ‘incident’ down in Virginia a couple of years ago.

But how much’ inclement weather’  IS there? Yes. They close cities down when there is an inch of snow. But how often do they get an inch?

Further it is May 25th.

Probably, they NEVER needed this sign. And they certainly don’t the snowflake and snowman sign now. Swimming pools are already open down here.


I can report that there are still NO Dodge Grand Caravan’s driving around in Loudoun County, Virginia. My van was MIA soon after my arrival. It was only on the road once during my visit. Mixed in with all the ‘fancy’ cars, trucks, SUV’s and vans.

I did recoup a little bit of cash when it died, before it got towed away.

When I return home in a car that isn’t mine, I’ll be borrowing my Dad (and his wife’s) car. But only for a couple of weeks…

I’ll soon be on the hunt for another vehicle.

When I get home, that is.

A NOTE ABOUT MY LAST BLOG… Had technical difficulties when I posted it. Then had to take it down. Then put it back up. My apologies to those directed to a page NOT there. Feel free to scroll back and take a look if you like. It is there now.

Shopping (sigh….) at Luckett’s Spring Market 2012 in Leesburg, Virginia

An update on my ‘field trip’ to Luckett’s this past weekend.

Driving to the Market was wonderful. Even in heavy traffic. And even in my old green minivan. Because I LOVE driving in Virginia. It is so beautiful, blue skies, rolling hills, plantation houses set far back from the road…

As I parked in a grassy field, I noticed those headed for the entrance had either large shoulder bags or dragged rolling carts.

Luckily I always have a bag. I quickly dumped its contents to van’s floor. Then dropped my notebook, pen, camera, wallet, lip gloss and a water bottle inside the bag. (Only the essentials for me!) And I was off.

There was just so much to see. A ‘candy shop’ or ‘playground’ for somebody like me. Salvage windows, doors, Adirondacks chairs, antique fabrics, vintage signs and furniture. Furniture. and more FURNITURE.

One of my favorite, quirky items? An old, antique disco ball…

Hanging in an old barn. Lots of barns and potting sheds scattered about. Along with all the festival booths, the regular Luckett’s stores were open, as well.

There was A Journey From Junk and Divine Details who set up together under one tent. One of my favorite, hand painted signs was there.

Laughed out loud. (I took it in the ‘biblical’ sense) And I wasn’t the only one. Then when I passed by later, I realized it could be taken at face value. Why am I up???

One of the highlights for me?

I met Miss Mustard Seed, of Mustard Seed Interiors. She is an inspiration. A writer. Mom. Wife. Daughter. Business Owner. Designer. Blogger. And (hurrah!!) Author with a book due out this October…

She gave out these lovely gifts…

There were nearly 200 vendors at the Spring Market this year. Yet Miss Mustard Seed (AKA Marian Parsons) stood out from the pack. Of course, her merchandise was stunning–especially the furniture pieces painted with her new milk paint line. She sparkled. That’s the only way I can describe it. She was engaging, gracious, patient in answering questions, willing to pose for photos, slipped her readers a ‘free’ bag or bunch of lavender when she could. And watching her in action–it was clear why she has been so successful. She was surrounded by her family (who were also friendly and efficient). All wore matching “Mustard Seed Interiors” t-shirts and they were a well-oiled machine–there to support her. There was such warmth surrounding that space.

I’ve got to put in a photo of this chest of drawers

The Big Question. What did I purchase?

Nothing big, because I have budgetary constraints…

A new lamp shade. Or at least to me, it looked like a Perfect lamp shade.

It is really a wood and metal bushel basket. Use your imagination and you might see it with a bright, funky color washed on the rustic wood.

I got a pretty, retro red snack tray with daisies on it. I have loved daisies since I was a little girl. It’s probably about 6″ x 10″ and will end up on a wall, in a plate rack, or by the front door to hold mail.

I couldn’t resist the tiny oil painting of pink roses signed ‘Merle Baker.’

Miss Mustard Seed gifted me with a lovely bag of lavender tied with a cream satin bow. Lovely!!

Lastly, notice the plant at right. It is a topiary plant. Very hardy. Difficult to screw it up. (We’ll see about that…)

They sold these plants wrapped around shapes–round, stars and suns. I chose to buy the plant and grow and prune it around a shape of my choosing. I might regret not getting the ‘ready made’ topiary. Time will tell.

All and all, it was a magical experience. But my trip has not been without its challenges. My van died. Still not sure what I will be driving home…

Dad: Are you taking the bus home?

Me: Only if I can stuff the dogs into suitcases.

As usual, the past two weeks were full of  disasters and debacles.

But…I found a new motto in one of the stores at the Market.

Didn’t buy it. (Damn budgetary constraints!!) But I am going with it for now.

At least until I am successful at SOMETHING.

Stick with me. More stories about my trip in the coming days….

Note of Apology: To anybody who read, tried to read this blog earlier today. Sorry that it was cut off. Had a few technical difficulties. Hopefully, it is fixed now.

TWO 16-year-old girls + ONE Honda Civic = ROAD TRIP

A supervised road trip, that is.

My seat partner. A large, furry, golden retriever dog, who panted...and drooled on me the entire trip.

It has been a while since my last post…

Mostly because I am recovering from spending 12 total hours in the backseat of a Honda Civic. Six hours down to Virginia about a week ago. And six hours back home this past weekend…

The driver? My Godchild who isn’t really. She decided I could be her Godmother. Which is fine, because I love her like a daughter. It’s complicated…she is my daughters close friend and I used to date her father.

Riding shotgun? My daughter armed with directions, the Atlas and a portable GPS–or navigation device.

In the backseat? Me.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The lord is with thee…

The girls are both 16. Each has a (rather new) valid Ohio driver’s license. And they badly wanted to drive from Ohio to Leesburg, Virginia to spend a week visiting Aunt Kate and Uncle Joe. Leesburg is just outside the beltway, near Washington D.C.

The girls approached me. Then they approached Mackenzie’s Dad. (AKA my former flame…) We parents talked it over. We agreed that the girls should go and believed they could handle a ‘road trip.’ The solution? A trial run…sort of like a test.

Which is how the menopausal woman (Me) wound up in the backseat, where the air conditioning doesn’t reach. I perspired profusely all the way down to Virginia and all the way back.

The girls tried really hard. They ran the air conditioning. They put on sweatshirts. But my poor ‘Godchild’ had to dial the air conditioning down, when her fingers got numb. The girls couldn’t be ‘human popsicles’ in the name of my comfort.

Gracie...lounging on my lap. All the way down to Virginia.

While we’re on the subject of my comfort, did I mention that both Gracie and Rocky traveled with us? Naturally, they rode in the backseat with me. Like a fur coat, but with loose hair flying about.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

Not for our safety. Was more praying that I wouldn’t lose my mind back there.

Which might have been a lost cause. My being in the backseat in the first place might have been a sign that my mind was already gone.

The girls did just fine with driving, tolls, handling money, knowing when to get gas, using cruise control–I truly did pass them the reins. They developed little systems for where to put the toll tickets, reading the GPS and other little odds and ends. They figured out these systems on the fly, and executed them as they went along.

My Godchild drove like a champ, even on the narrow Pennsylvania Turnpike with the semi’s and through the inevitable summer road construction—even in dense traffic on the trip back home.  My daughter proved a proficient navigator, “Get in the right line when you can, in two miles we need to veer to the right…that type of thing” It was an impressive display of teamwork.

They were rock solid. Competent. Responsible. Mature. Showed excellent judgment. Never made a wrong turn. (And thank goodness for it, because I couldn’t have tolerated extra time in my traveling sauna–spitting dog hair out of my mouth.)

If they had gone the wrong way, I would have let them—and they would have had to get themselves back on course. No point doing this, if I wasn’t going all the way with it.

I was hot, sweaty and (mostly) silent. Seen but not heard. Honestly, I couldn’t have shouted if I wanted to. I had sinus congestion going on and with it, a touch of laryngitis.

“That is going to be very nice,” commented my loving daughter. Not sure she realized that nobody else volunteered to be the guinea pig in this ‘field trip’ of  learning.

The high points….

The view from our lounge chairs at the (often empty) pool...

Aunt Kate’s cooking…she is truly a culinary genius. Not overstating this. Grilled pork chops, steak, homemade chicken salad, strawberry shortcake, 7-layer cookie bars and much more.

Sliced tomatoes and mozzarella to go along with our juicy steaks...

The low points…

Are words needed? Or does the visual of "huff and puff's" BIG head do the trick?

I love my children, but I enjoy great peace and tranquility when they go away for a day or two. Likely because it is a rare occurrence. Our successful trip might just leave me with some free time now and again…

The best thing to come of this road trip? The girls proved they can be trusted to take another one. Without me…