Sunday, January 25, 2009

My diploma has arrived!

For the past two years, I've been working on my Master's Degree. I began the online Graduate program with Gonzaga University with hesitation. I didn't think I was disciplined enough to complete the classes and after all, it had been a few years since I had been in college or written a paper for that matter. For those of you who don't have much clout in on line classes, let me say, they can be very difficult. You don't have the opportunity to study with classmates, readily ask a professor a question in class each day, (tho all my profs were speedy in answering questions, of course, they aren't at their computers when I am at mine!) and you have to have a great deal of discipline in completing the readings (the reading is extensive since lectures aren't always an option), posting questions and responses to questions and of course, completing those graduate papers. I was required to complete a residency that was awesome! It was great to be back on campus again and meet some of my classmates I had communicated with via email and posts.

I've finished all of my requirements and applied for graduation. It was granted!! I have to say my GPA put to shame my undergrad GPA. I was/am pleased!! I did it! I was also working full time, parenting sometimes alone as John was at sea alone and handling the house hold issues on my own at times too. Picture this, me in my jammies, keep it a 'g' rated thought folks!, attending class and "talking" to my profs and classmates!...LOL I even read one of my texts in the hospital under the influence of was awesome...LOL I wrote and sent off my paper hours before I had surgery...some say that's dedication...other say I say, I got an A on that dang paper!!

I received my diploma in the mail Saturday! Woohooo! I'm attending graduation in May and will walk through the ceremony at my alma mater and I just can't wait!! Stay tuned for that adventure complete with pictures! Get the popcorn! Is there a PhD in my future? Possibly. The boys need to finish up their education and I'll revisit that later. I am going to take the required measures to teach at the community colleges here in town for fun! Who knows where that will lead! Life is an adventure!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Shenandoah Crossing Retreat

Mid winter mini vacation
Shenandoah Crossing
January 30-February 1, 2009
I began this particular post a few weeks prior to our actual that's why the post date is different from the actual dates we were there. ....

After John returned from his cruise of a few Asian countries, we opted for a few days of relaxation and retreat! Fortunately, with our vacation club , we have many options all over the world from which to choose for vacations or when visiting family. We chose Shenandoah Crossing. The ambiance at Shenandoah Crossing is a cross between rustic farm and country club, reminiscent of an old country estate. Accommodations range from primitive to pristine, we chose a cabin to relax for a midwinter break!

Though the resorts offer rentals of equipment and services, as members we enjoy a great deal of complementary services and activities! For example, at Shenandoah, we can ride the horses, go for carriage rides as part of those activities that are complimentary. The Manor house in the above picture, is available to members to rent as well. I'm thinking road trip for Alpha Rho!

The above pictures were taken from the horse farm's website. The following are photos I took on this mid winter retreat.

On the road to relaxation!

Ian and Arrick try to remain upright in the left over ice and snow at the horse farm.

Our little cabin in the woods.

The lake from our front deck....we weren't close too the water this time.

The small but functional kitchen...

Quaint living room with fireplace...

the second bedroom for the boys....

the master bedroom with king sized bed....

Poor Arrick. Ian said that as he was falling asleep he heard Arrick move in bed and then a "bonk" noise and a quiet..."oww"...a few times before he chuckled himself to sleep. Needless to say, the next time we stay at the horse farm, we'll opt for the full sized beds in the second bedroom.

One of the lake access points...the edges of the lake were iced...

Horses at the ranch...

This is downtown Gordonsville folks! It took us just a few minutes to visit the little shops and head out on our exploration of the surrounding area. There are three little boutiques, a french restaurant open for lunch and early dinner and a real estate business. There is also a lovely garden boutique (not pictured) that sells cement statues imported from England for those who aspire to have English gardens on their grounds. I can't count the number of large equestrian estates we saw and the ginormous houses that were on those estates!

This hotel, located just a few yards from the railroad line, was used as a hospital for both Confederate and Union soldiers. It was closed while we were there but will reopen in April.

Next on our journey to explore the area, the home of James and Dolley Madison.

A view from Montpelier from the main road.
walking up to the mansion....
At the turn of the century, 1901, a member of the duPont family purchased Montpelier adding several rooms to the original mansion. It was in the 1920's that Marion duPont made Montelier into one of the nation's leading horse training centers. Much of the grounds still operate as a training center with barns and practice tracks visible on the drive up to the mansion. It was Marion's wish after her passing, that Montpelier be returned to the people and restored to its original elegance. That process began in 1983 and was open to the public 2007.

The final resting place of James and Dolley Madison. ( It was pretty cold that day so we didn't walk all over the grounds. We'll be back though!)

Madison's Temple illustrates different sides of James Madison's personality: the visionary choosing the civic architecture of the ancient republic of Rome to symbolize his dreams for the new American republic; and the practical man wanting to serving cool refreshments in summer—the aesthetic beautifying the functional.
The Temple was placed in the north yard so that it could be seen by guests from the north wing roof as they sipped their cool drinks.
Ian is walking away from the structure. You can see how large it is.

A view from the basement kitchen window at the front of the Mansion.

View from Montpelier's front porch.

We hope to "check in" with this new museum to see what they find as they work on excavating the grounds and restoring Montpelier to its former glory.