It’s been a while since I’ve published twice in one day, but I just really did not have a timely slot on my publication schedule for this post, so it’s time for a double feature. It’s also been a while since I’ve done a dedicated life update post. I have to admit I got tired of writing them. :’) I was originally going to bundle my Scottish fair photos into my September reading summary, but obviously the September social photos ballooned out of control and I happened to have a free day on my hands because I’m still on vacation, so here we are. Now that I’m looking at all my September doings, I’m realizing that I spent a surprising amount of time in Virginia this month.

Catsitting Part II: The Tabby Strikes Back

But first, the thrilling conclusion to my catsitting saga. The second half of September was more peaceful than the first, because the little creamsicle went home. Last month I said I wasn’t sure I could have a cat long-term, and I’ve gotta say, August Carolyn knew what she was talking about. I was hoping Archie would drag me out of at least a little of my cleaning-related neuroses, and he did while he was here, but then he went home and I ordered a new fur-obliterating vacuum cleaner and did a full weekend cleaning blitz. This breaks my heart just a little bit, because I really was hopeful that I would be able to adopt a cat of my own. At this time, however, I’m not in a headspace where I can deal with an apartment covered with cat fur and stray litter.

With that said, I miss this sweet baby. He is 100% a velcro cat, and I really got used to him following me everywhere, butting his head under my arm to demand pats, snuggling on my chest, and napping on my bed while I was working. (You see? He did start sleeping on my bed.) I got used to the idea that I could not eat fish while he was with me – there was a very tiny kitty tantrum on the night I made Tuna Helper for dinner, because Archie is nothing if not an absolute drama queen – and I didn’t even mind cleaning his litterbox every night, though I must say I wasn’t prepared for his habit of standing over me like the kiss of death while I was scooping his shit. I got used to him snuggling in my bed at night and then walking all over my head and standing on my hair in the mornings and loudly demanding breakfast, to which I say, sorry, Arch. I did not magically become a morning person, so his breakfast was frequently late. But also, it turns out it hurts when a cat stands on the ends of your hair.

All of this is to say that I wasn’t always the best auntie to him, but we got used to each other, and I am glad he came to visit. A couple of my work friends said he looked so comfortable in my house, and that went a long way to making me feel just a little bit better about my almost nonexistent kitty-parenting skills. I would babysit him again, though perhaps not for quite so long next time, lol. I like the kitty cuddles, but I’m still neurotic as fuck and also I was not particularly pleased to find one of his toys under my couch after he’d gone home.

Also I got him a collar with a jingle bell. It didn’t last. He hated it so much that I felt bad and took it off after watching him gnaw at it for a couple of minutes.

And my new vacuum cleaner, because I know you’re on the edge of your seat. It’s a bit heavier than I would like, but it had one job and it did it. My little Shark was not nearly so diligent in sucking up cat fur and the threads of destroyed toys.

Virginia Scottish Games

And now, back to the actual point of this post. Believe it or not, my mania for documenting everything totally failed me while Heather and I were wandering around the Virginia Scottish Games, and I literally only have this one picture because it happened to amuse me. Regardless, the games were fun, though it was hotter than we expected, and the food stalls were so packed that the vendors had started to run out of certain things by the time we got there. Also, the parking lot was a large field that didn’t look that far from the actual games field but turned out to be a bit of a hike, and by the time I made the trek back to the car I was so hot and my feet were so obviously in agony that I’m surprised some kind person didn’t offer to run me over and put me out of my misery.

The best part of the day: the shopping. (Not pictured: a small package of oatcakes, which I blame on Redwall, and a two-pack of microwaveable sticky toffee puddings, which I blame on Great British Bake Off. As to why they’re not in the photo, I forgot I had them until it was too late, and I don’t feel like adding another photo to this already photo-heavy post.)

In other news, it has now been a month since the games and I have eaten almost all of the Welsh cakes I picked up, which makes me sad. And I am annoyed with myself because I unhauled a bunch of mugs semi-recently but then I went and got suckered into buying another one, complete with a matching coaster. Also I still have to find a home for that little 3D-printed dragon, which I was meaning to do after Archie went home but have so far forgotten.

Road Trip to Harrisonburg

A Weekend Wedding

And now for the biggest thing to come out of September: one of my high school friends got married this past Friday! (My documentation habit did not fail me this time, but I cut down my photos to just these four. For hopefully obvious reasons.) Even if I’m not the most wedding-y person out there, the ceremony was beautiful, and the weather was absolutely perfect. A good chunk of the guests were fellow classmates, so the vibe was very much high school reunion. It was lovely. It was also extremely remote, and the venue was only accessible through a serpentine one-lane gravel-strewn dirt road, which I later learned was the long way around, and which was not actually the road we were supposed to take. I found this out right as we were starting back to the hotel, which I suppose was actually fortunate because if we’d had to go back the way we’d come in I would’ve cried. There were literal chickens pecking around on the side of the road on our way in. I am so grateful none of those chickens crossed the road while I was driving on it, because I would’ve had a hell of a time explaining that to their owners.

Bonus 1: There was a s’mores bar, complete with a fire to roast the marshmallows. If only I hadn’t been so full from dinner. ;_; In my defense, if somebody asks you if you want beef in addition to the salmon already on your plate, you don’t say “no.” You say “yes please” and hold out your plate.

Bonus 2: The bride and groom gave away the table centerpieces after the reception, so two of the little pumpkins and a vase came home with me. I am officially That Person who has dedicated fall decor. πŸ˜€

Bopping Around Harrisonburg

I had originally envisioned driving down to Virginia for the wedding and then driving back on the same night, starting at 10 p.m. I don’t know what I was thinking, and fortunately neither did Heather, who headed off my plans to arrive home around one or two in the morning (I really did not think that through) by suggesting that we split one of the hotel rooms reserved by the bride and groom. This gave us a day to explore Harrisonburg, starting with the Virginia Quilt Museum.

There were so many amazing quilts that it was hard to narrow down my photos, but my favorites are shown below. The first was titled “Spiraling.” I could relate.

An unexpected inclusion that would not have occurred to me: a whole room dedicated to sewing machines throughout history. This is just a fraction of the machines on display.

In addition to an exhibit on Civil War quilts, the museum had a section dedicated to a contemporary artist, whose work you can actually buy. I took a look at her pricing sheet and found out that some of her quilts cost more than I have in my savings account, lol. I’ll be back after I win the Powerball.

Bury Me In A Library

The next stop was the Green Valley Book Fair, because Heather knows me well.

I will say that I was hoping the selection would be a little more broad: I really could have done with more variety and fewer Julia Quinns and Debbie Macombers. However, there was still so much to look at, and I am pleased with all of my finds. I wasn’t even planning to read A Tale of Two Cities orΒ Great Expectations, but the book was so beautiful and it was only $4.00, and that is a combination I tend to find irresistible. My six books together cost barely $30, which was absolutely amazing. Even if the selection was more limited and more repetitive than I was expecting, the prices were incredible, and I would definitely visit again.

A New Favorite Restaurant

We followed the wedding website recommendation and visited Grilled Cheese Mania for lunch on the first day, and we liked it so much that we did not argue when Michaella asked to try it on the second day. :’D Actually I was glad she wanted to visit, because that gave me the chance to try a different sandwich. On Friday I got the Tuna Melt because I can never resist a tuna melt, and on Saturday I got the Jersey Boy because I also can’t resist a fried egg. I only wish the egg hadn’t been allowed to cook all the way through, because that sandwich would have been perfect if the yolk had still been runny. Even so, both sandwiches were amazing, and I would order both of them again in a heartbeat. I also tried limeade for the first time and loved it, and the chocolate chip cookies were excellent as well. I am torn between wishing there were a GCM up in Maryland and being thankful that there isn’t, because if there were I would be broke and rotund.

P.S. It’s worth noting that we got swarmed by wasps the first time we went, so indoor dining is definitely the way to go. I don’t even know why so many wasps showed up at once. We were fine during the first half of lunch.

On the Road Again

Shenandoah is so beautiful. We didn’t have the time or the energy to go hiking, what with the drive being what it was, but we did manage to take Skyline Drive for part of the way. While it did add about an hour to our travel time, it was worth every minute, especially as there were a number of lookout points built into the road. (On the other hand, wasn’t a huge fan of the flies who seem to have made the park their home.) I took about 40 photos that all look largely the same, so I’ve pared them down to just the three below.

All in all, it was a very good weekend, and I hope I can visit Harrisonburg again.

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