Archive for Squirrels that Caught My Attention


Dormers Away!

Dormers Away!

This post is the sequel to last December’s “Columns-n-a-crate,” which are both part of the great series entitled Virginia Architectural Pastiches.  The new Campus Center is getting its dormers lowered on with a crane.  Must have been acquired at Antebellum Greek Revival Features-R-Us.

Tantalizing Title of the Week

The Mind Boggles

The Mind Boggles

Thomas Gordon, A Gazetteer of the State of New Jersey: Comprehending a General View of Its Physical and Moral Condition, Together with a Topographical and Statistical Account of Its Counties, Towns, Villages, Canals, Rail Roads, &c., Accompanied by a Map (Trenton, 1834).  Who wants to know what the moral condition of New Jersey was in 1834?  Also, I applaud Gordon’s brevity, given the average length of nineteenth century gazetteer titles.

What Polar Vortex?

20140221-144022.jpgAfter the craziness of the recent weeks of blizzards and snow days, it’s 70 in Fredericksburg, with a tornado warning (!!!!!!!) and a solid thunderstorm almost worthy of July. Although it’s supposed to get cold again next week, no one told these poor crocuses. This is why I love the term “global weirding” so much.

Wait It Out

20140213-223438.jpgBack in 2010, when Brian and I moved Virginia, one of my biggest reservations was moving from New York, a state with relatively good legal protections for our relationship, to Virginia, which not only had a spectacularly vindictive anti-gay constitutional amendment, but also had a spectacularly colorful history of being on the wrong side of diversity and family issues. I was excited for the new chapter in my life, excited for the job at UMW, and excited to try living in the quaint little town of Fredericksburg. But Virginia … oh, Virginia … so beautiful, and so backwards.

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Snow Day

20140213-111652.jpgDisappointing those who expected to be disappointed, last night’s snowstorm delivered on its promise of real, if icy, accumulation. (Myself, I was expecting real snow, mostly because I was taking the word of Chris White,’s weather blogger, who I am increasingly becoming a fan of for his thoughtful and articulate posts about local meteorology.) Read more

Back off, Fredericksburg

Whose claim is more legitimate?

Whose claim is more legitimate?

I clicked on this Free Lance-Star article about Erin Hamlin, the American who just won the bronze in luge in Sochi, expecting to find a feel-good human-interest story about a local athlete made good.  Which is exactly what I found.  Except that Hamlin isn’t from Fredericksburg (her aunt lives here), she’s from Remsen, New York, just outside of Utica.  And now I’m mad because Fredericksburg is squatting on the local-girl-made-good human-interest story that rightfully belongs to my people.  Lay off Oneida County, will ya?  They’re in a 50-year drought of feel-good human-interest stories up there.

In Which I Enjoyed City Bureaucracy

20140210-204505.jpg This evening Brian and I attended the monthly meeting of the City if Fredericksburg’s Architectural Review Board. We had a proposal before the board, seeking their approval to replace the entry door and add some signage to Skin+Touch Therapy‘s new location on Caroline Street. Since the building dates to 1839 (although the ARB claimed 1820!) and it sits in the middle of the he historic district, we have had to go through endless layers of both structural and aesthetic approvals for all the renovations we have needed to make. I have to say I was a bit nervous about appearing before there ARB, because after all, aesthetics doesn’t seem like a comfortable area of expertise for a city bureaucracy. But I was really impressed with the meeting. The members of the board all seemed to have a clear architectural vision, and it wasn’t one that was hidebound or historico-pedantic. They quickly approved the proposals that were easy no-brainers, and asked thoughtful questions about the tougher calls. All in all, it made me very glad to be locating in the historic district, despite the extra bureaucracy.

Damn Yankees


The Civil War is being refought in the UMW Faculty Dining Room, but this time, the South has won.

Just another Sunday afternoon in Fredericksburg


Yesterday I got to spend the afternoon reading and writing at Hyperion Espresso, Fredericksburg’s main coffeeshop. It was a real treat, because life has been so busy recently that I haven’t had time to sit and think and absorb the atmosphere. The experience didn’t disappoint, because I was joined in my lazy Sunday afternoon contemplation by a group of reenactors in costume. It was a classic Fredericksburg moment.

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Apparently “Gay” Really Does Mean “Happy”

According to this new study out of the Open University in England, couples without kids are happier than couples with kids.  And gay couples are the happiest of all.  So apparently back when they were calling you gay in middle school, they were really onto something.