My friend Moonie made this for me. Isn't it wonderful? I think it sums up the first month of 2009 quite well. Beautiful work of art. She claims it's easy... but I think she's brilliant. (She had some help from www.wordle.com)


Just FreeCycled this desk that Aza had all through middle and high school. Her room is looking like a guest room now. So sad. It's hard to see them grow up and move away. It happens to us all, I know, but it's hard. We put all her things in a box. A box. Where did the time go???? Where did my three babies go???

1-28-09 evening

We use my iPhone to check the weather at every town in front of us, and it looks like once we get to Huntington it will improve. We plow on. The snow turns to sleet, the sleet turns to rain, then the sky clears and by sunset we are nearing home on dry land. 10 hours. The trip home was a harrowing 10 hours. I hope it was worth it.
Blue Ridge Home
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Dan scrapes the window so we can leave early this morning. It's raining and freezing.
By the time we get out of town, it's snowing.
Eventually we get in a traffic jam and sit in the car for an hour on empty. We see a guy playing football outside.
It's snowing like mad and we are hungry and nervous about the weather.
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The 2.5 day interview is over and we can't leave town because of the ice storm. We have a beautiful suite at the Hyatt and are just waiting for the storm to subside. The interview went really well.

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We left this morning for a 6.5 hour drive to Lexington, Kentucky. That night we had dinner with the chair of the search committee and his wife. She ordered chicken and waffles, which I just had to take a photo of! My big day is tomorrow- Here I am all dressed up my evening dinner.

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My friend invited me to go downtown with her and her daughter to the theater to watch the inauguration in hi-def on the big screen. It was like we were there, up close. It was a a nice, brisk day and we had a good time. No headaches. I was sure I'd get one with the crowds.
Our downtown mall is so nice. I doubt we'll ever find anything like it anywhere.


We took Aza out to Sticks for her birthday. Not the fanciest place in the world to take a girl turning 21, but it was good food and we had a nice time.


Aza is home for her birthday weekend. 21 years old tomorrow!


Shopping at Sams never fails to surprise.


Today was awesome. First, I made a list of everything I needed to accomplish in the next month. Then I sent an email out to my committee members requesting their availability for my dissertation defense. After several hours of playing with schedules, I got a call from the lady at the Rotunda who reserves rooms. Within an hour I had a date and time and room. Victory! I am defending my dissertation on March 16th, two months from tomorrow. To celebrate, Dan and I went on a very cold and long walk where I took this picture with my amazing iPhone. Then we took Squirt and went out for dinner at my favorite pizza place. Today... was... awesome.
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OK, this is embarassing- but this is the state of my dungeon. It's a royal mess. I'm buried in papers and piles of stuff. So, this is the BEFORE photo. After I clean it up, I'll take an AFTER photo. Now that I've turned in Chapter 4, gotten two interviews lined up, set a rough date for my defense, and accomplished a myriad of other academic leaps, I can put on some music and clean up this place. Count down: 8 days till LOST!!!!
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Bavaro Hall, or what will be Baravo Hall, as seen from the 2nd floor window of the former chairman of my department at school. He has a pretty good view! I met with the statistics prof today and got a good thumbs up on my number crunching. Tomorrow I turn in Chapter 4 and the outline for Chapter 5. I had a productive morning working on an NSF proposal I've been invited to be part of. Pretty cool stuff going on in the professional chapter of my life.
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Messing around with my "productivity tool" while lying in bed after a
somewhat productive day. I went to a lecture and workshop on college
teaching this morning then worked on chapter 5 all afternoon.


Dan and I went for a nice walk around the residential neighborhood
near UVA today after Aza left for school. We saw a house with
chickens! Chickens, right there near grounds.


This photo of Sophie was taken with my iPhone. It's truly amazing the quality that comes out of that little thing. And it really enhances my ability to take photos when I'm out on the go... without my entire cadre of lenses and such. But I've been doing a lot of staying at home lately. The dissertation is #1 on the priority list and I'm writing Chapter 5- so the end is in sight.


We took a walk on the downtown mall tonight and saw all the
construction they are doing ripping up the bricks.


Aza looks just like Sophie in her fuzzy white coat and gloves. We went on a walk this evening- it was pretty cold. I cleaned up Chapter 3 today and hope to nail the Chapter 5 outline tomorrow. I'm getting excited about my upcoming job interview and the academic career that I've been working toward for 5 years.

I'm also looking forward to Gray's Anatomy tonight and LOST in two weeks!!!


I saved all the paper cranes and flowers that Aza took down from her ceiling. Today was very productive. I got Chapter 4 all cleaned up.
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Today my Aza grew up. She took her adolescent bedroom apart one word, one paper crane, one Got Milk ad at at time (all 63 of them).

I kept all the paper cranes. We're making a scrap book out of the Got Milk ads. The words? Well... they're just paper words now. She turns 21 in less than two weeks. I guess she's ready.


I did NOT take this photo. It was taken by Robert W. Madden on Fox Island, and features Bo Hoppin, an educator with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It was the cover photo on National Geographic some years back. The reason this photo is today's photo is because of this story:

Last year I took 25 kids to an island in the Chesapeake Bay. http://chrissysphotoaday.blogspot.com/2007/11/10-31-07.html

Only 12 of these kids could afford the the $225 price tag. The trip was cancelled when only a dozen signed up, but I begged the school for 24 more hours to find the rest of the money. My cousin John called me within an hour of my email plea to all my relatives... he said, "Don't worry, Chrissy- it's covered." And it was. A couple of my other relatives helped out, but John donated over $2000 towards the trip.

John died two weeks ago.

I attended the celebration of his life and gave a short eulogy about his love of the Chesapeake Bay and his generosity, and how his big heart made it possible for all 25 country kids from central Virginia to experience an island for three days.

After the service, a stranger came up to me named Bob. He shook my hand and gave me his business card. On the back of the card, he printed in block writing, "IT'S STILL COVERED."

I cried.

Today the school received a letter from CBF stating that it was accepted again for a trip, this time to Fox Island- the most magical place on Earth. As far as the price tag-- it's still covered. So, look here after Memorial Day Weekend for some fabulous photos like the one above, because that's where I'll be.

God Bless You, John.
And you too, Bob.


This is all I saw today. I worked very hard- approximately 12 hours- and finally finished Chapter 4. I'd wanted to do this before Christmas, but hey- January 3rd isn't so far off. YES! I'm done! Well... that is, until my advisor gets ahold of it and then I'll be back working on it again. But for now, I feel victory. Sleepy time!
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New Year's Day. Aza came home this afternoon after seeing her boyfriend leave for a year in Iraq. She is very very sad. He called from Ireland this evening on his way to Kuwait. Next stop, Iraq. We finalized our family newsletter/photo mailing extravaganza today.
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