You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Choupette joins the Parade
Settling in warily in the New World, and acquiring a new friend for Melvin, mid-March to mid-April 2019
A relaxing drive from the Richmond airport westward over the Blue Ridge Mountains back into the Shenandoah Valley, 15 March 2019, with Kristin safely off to Florida just before dawn
Over the Blue Ridge and down to Waynesboro and Staunton
A view of downtown Staunton from the little hill to the west -- on a short scouting mission for the local walks
Surprisingly, not all of the grand historic architecture is still in good nick.
An active tradition of citizen politics; that's all to the good.
Down to Gypsy Hill Park and a tiny tributary of the Shenandoah River
The Staunton Public Library
Tramping back towards home along North Augusta Street, we come unexpectedly to a Grand Parade of Churches, situated mere inches apart. This is the Mount Zion Baptist Church; true.
Next up -- the Ebenezer Baptist Church (not to be confused with the Mt Zion Baptist Church, that's quite different)
Succeeded by the Augusta Street United Methodist Church, and a short ways up the hill across from our usual free parking spot . . .
. . . the Saint Francis Roman Catholic Church, which in one of the adjacent buildings offers the free service of the HOPE project in Mary's House, the sacred mission of which is 'to help pregnant women with short- or long-term needs by offering Christian love and practical solutions', very laudable, I'm sure.
The Godly Row along N. August Street. The white spire at the far left is just the fire station.
Melvin has grown lethargic, listless, and dull, and watchful. He would clearly benefit from a little companion he could torment mercilessly for fun and excitement.
Always seeking attention
More local architecture
The hometown trolley
That's our house -- "the Old Y". We're in the central window-and-lunette just above the apparent front door and the two double-decker windows to the right of that, the erstwhile theatre of the former YMCA; our livingroom has an approx. 40-foot ceiling. The elegant front door arrangement was formerly a restaurant and is now an apartment; our main entrance is around to the side, labeled 'Boys' Entrance'.
The First Presbyterian Church, conveniently only 200 meters up the road from us. We've pencilled that in, just in case.
Up the hill towards Mary Baldwin University, founded in 1842 as a female seminary, now since 1976 relaxing in the physical plant of the former Staunton Military Academy (1884-1976) -- by all accounts a worthy small co-ed institution which also offers an MA programme in collaboration with the American Shakespeare Centre just two blocks down the street.
The apse-end of the St Francis Catholic Church, rather nice
An historic section on New Street just 200m up the hill from the town centre
The small hill at the centre of the Mary Baldwin campus, with . . .
. . . a great view
Back down from the campus and farther along New Street
The view back down New Street, to the Mill Street Grill at the end of the road by the railroad tracks
The front of the Mary Baldwin campus, overlooking the downtown
Choupette joins the Parade
We've just been down to Roanoke, VA, 3 April, to receive into our custody the little three-month-old Burmese called Choupette, recruited to provide services as a toy for Melvin, who's been going a bit stir-crazy here alone.
Melvin is aware that something's up.
We've been solemnly counseled that little Choupette (lit.: the 'little cabbage sweetheart'), only three months old, must be cuddled and coddled in a protectively confined space until she begins, over time, to gain confidence.
So Melvin and Choupette are meeting for the first time under carefully controlled conditions.
But Choupette has a mind of her own, and insists on exploring.
Kristin is sharing video of the kittens' first encounter to family members 500 to 800 miles away.
It's all going well so far. Very tentative, but interested.
In fact, Choupette required no gentle breaking-in period. Within two days, the two of them were chasing each other all over the flat at full speed, ambushing and wrestling with one another with an energy and determination that looks scary, but never causes any injuries whatever.
Choupette informing the family that it's time to rise and, if possible, shine
At last, in the fullness of time, the Worldly Stuff has arrived after having been stuck in the Port of Baltimore until additional, unforeseen fees had been levied.
And three days later, it's all still a big mess.
We've stuffed up the existing shelving with books and DVDs in the 'TV Room' on the mezzanine . . .
. . . and for the rest, we'll be seeking professional assistance.
What a gros bordel.
The 'study', or 'office' as it mought be, has fetched up in a narrow corridor above the stage, with one of the few good views out over the downtown, and a reasonable proximity to most of the books.
Next up: Feline martial arts, more views of Staunton, and not-Monticello