Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 Christmas Newsletter

DuBois Family Christmas in VA 
Publisher:  Kevin Du Bois             Volume No. 1             Issue No. 12             Christmas, 2014

For us here in “Glenrest South”, there were many momentous events in 2014.  Big changes in the girls’ school careers, a couple of car wrecks, new jobs, etc. etc. etc. all led to failed attempts at large or small family vacations.  We had wanted to do a rafting trip and see the Lost Colony play in the Outer Banks, but life got in the way.  Kathi and I did sneak away for a weekend in and around Staunton VA.  We attended the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival and Wine Tasting event in Waynesboro (a future retirement destination?), spent the night in a delightful B&B in Staunton VA (we loved that town!), and then met up with our friends Chris and Leslie to hike to Crabtree Falls in the George Washington National Forest.  

This year we had to say goodbye to our trusty Honda minivan.  She was involved in two no-fault accidents, the second, a rear ender that totaled the poor girl.  There were a lot of family outings, camping trips, and boat launching in the old girl’s past.  We miss her.    

Hailey graduated from First Colonial High School this year.  She continues to work at the Harris Teeter grocery store, earning money for college.  This was her last year at theater camp and she loved performing in Godspell as a closer.  This past fall, she started attending Old Dominion University, studying Fine Arts.  Hailey qualified for student aid and she took a job in the college’s music department which she really enjoys.  We encouraged her to be active in a school club and Hailey picked the ghost hunting club - for a big chicken, go figure!  Hailey seems to have done well her first semester, and now we’re waiting for her grades to come in.  She’s already picked her classes for the Spring semester:  more art classes, a film appreciation class, and she’ll take oceanography over the summer to keep her course credits on track for graduation.  Hailey’s headphones seem welded to her shoulders and never seem to come off - now who sounds old!     

Dana  Like Hailey, Dana got her learner’s permit this year, but is not interested in driving.  It’s a blessing and a curse and Kathi is driving Dana all over the county so she can perform “unpaid” work at the SPCA, the Virginia Zoo, and the Living Museum.  Dana wants to be a zookeeper and all this volunteering is good for the resume, but poor Kathi’s spending a lifetime as chauffeur.  Unless they get off the stick, these kids better work in a city with an excellent transit system!  Dana’s still nonplused about school, but she’s a good natured kid - always singing, dancing around, and acting irritatingly silly.  Dana’s a hippie 50 years too late!  Dana loves bustin’ things.  Here she is doing demo work for the bathroom remodel.

Kathi’s been making great strides at the Virginia Beach Public Library working with young children and building their STEAM knowledge (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).  She’s getting great kudos from her bosses and adoration from her students.  One called her her favorite science teacher (a title which Kathi likes to lord over Kevin often!).  Even adding programs to fill the demand, Kathi’s classes always fill up!  Kathi even roped Kevin into giving demonstrations in fly tying and fly casting (what else!) at the Library’s “How To” Fest and although lightly attended, got good reviews.  Kathi performs the saintly duties of cooking, shopping, and otherwise taking care of her grandmother (Wa) who lives with us.  Surely her reward will be in heaven!

Wa Kathi’s grandmother is still going to church regularly and volunteering when she can.  Just as religiously, she keeps her Saturday hairdresser’s appointment, and scolds us when we block the driveway.   

Kevin has been busy work-wise in 2014 with speaking engagements at regional wetlands conferences, working on a multi-state Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction strategy panel, getting paid to contribute text to a national wetland policy paper, and working again as a Faculty member with the Washington Youth Summit for the Environment at George Mason University.  But the biggest news is his new job!  After 19 years working in environmental services, Kevin has taken a managerial position as Norfolk’s Recycling Coordinator and Executive Director of the Norfolk Environmental Commission (NEC).  The new job is exciting and challenging, but the move has been bittersweet as Kevin has had to step back from the wetlands work he loved so much.  On a more positive note, with Kathi’s blessing, Kevin was able to go on a few outdoor trips, hiking in the Shenandoah National Park, fly fishing in the George Washington National Forest, and a week-long backpacking trip to Glacier National Park.  Dusting off his DJ chops, Kevin DJ-ed an 80’s themed party for a friend’s 50th birthday party.       

Bodie is getting older, but he’s still acting like a rambunctious pup!  As the sun and the neighborhood traffic fades, Bodie’s walks have transitioned into unleashed romps around the block.   His whimpering and groans let us know the appointed time.  It’s a good time for Mom and Dad to recount the day and blow off some steam too.  Bodie has a rubber polka dot pig that’s his favorite toy; unlike the others he doesn’t rip this one apart.  He’s still a chow hound and a constant trip hazard when eggs are being made or any other food item for that matter!

Hope all is well with you and yours. God Bless! Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!  Love, Kathi, Kevin, Hailey, Dana, and Bodie 

Kevin: Cell:  757-650-2720
Kathi:  Cell:  757-651-1973
Blogs: (backpacking)
   (fly fishing)  
   (family travel & other stuff)  

We still reside at:  633 Prince Phillip Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23452. (757) 486-6735

Hailey’s ODU mug shot 

Trouble on the streets!           

 Making ravioli - a New Year’s tradition!

   Our new God son - David Nash Jr.

Glacier National Park - Swiftcurrent Lookout 



Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 Wicked 10K

This year our neighborhood friends decided to "run" the Wicked 10K as characters from the Beatles' Yellow Submarine.  Of course the star of the show were Chris and the ladies wearing the sculpted sub.  LArs, Rob, Bill and I were dressed as the Beatles Lonely Hearts Club Band.  It was lot's of work and big fun.  Hats off to Lars for the master vision and most of the work crafting the sub.


Monday, May 5, 2014

King's Grant Sky

This is from last week.  Amazing!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

VA Fly Fishing Festival and Hike to Crabtree Falls, April 12-13, 2014

On Saturday, Kathi and I left early to head to Waynesboro for the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival.

We arrived around 11:00 and arranged to meet our good friends John and Karen for lunch at a restaurant they recommended, the Green Leaf Grill in Waynesboro.  The food was delicious (I had a shrimp Po'boy) and the company was even better.  Fat and happy, we walked down the street to the Fly Fishing Festival.

The booths were interesting, but I wish there were more.  Kathi was clearly not impressed!

The most interesting thing I saw was a pair of neoprene-foot hip waders from Chota - I'm going to get a pair for fishing this shallow mountain streams in the Shenandoah when full chest waders are unnecessary.

 Of course Lefty is always entertaining.  He's got a thousand quips!

Outside, Kathi, John, Karen and I sampled flights of win from about 8 different vendors.   Kathi and my favorite was a pinot gregio from Knight's Gambit Vineyard.  Happy wife, happy life!

It was late in the afternoon as we left the Fly Fishing Festival and we decided to check into our B&B before going on a scenic drive in the country.  We arrived at the Inn at Old Virginia in Staunton, VA.  What a nice place!  

We got some recommendations for dinner from our host, I got a to-go cup of coffee, and we headed out.  The Inn was on the outskirts of Staunton and Kathi wanted to swing through Staunton on the way to the country roads that awaited.

This being our first time to Staunton, we fell in love with the town immediately.  The home of Mary Baldwin College, Staunton is abuzz with students and full of interesting shops, art galleries, restaurants, and beautiful architecture.  We ditched the country roads and parked the car to explore.

We hit the pavement at around 6:00 pm so we only had an hour to power window shop before most of the stores closed.  We did our best to cram as much in as we could and then moseyed down the hill to the Mill Street Grill for dinner.  The line was huge and they told us it was a 45 minute wait.  We waited outside on the provided benches and cruised the real estate ads.  Within 20 minutes we were sitting at our table ordering.  I had Cajun Shrimp with fried green tomatoes and with garlic potatoes and Kathi had fish and chips.  Both were very good.  Even though they brought us a small serving of sherbet, we had eyed the Split Banana during our explorations so we had to give their gelato a try.  The perfect topper!  

Stuffed, we returned to the Inn at Old Virginia and settled in for the night.

Sunday, we got up early and were first in the dinning room for complimentary breakfast - fruit cocktail, french toast, coffee, and juice.  Nice!

Then we packed up the car and headed south for the Crabtree Falls parking lot where we were rendezvousing with our friends Leslie and Chris for a hike.  Kathi did not like driving over winding, gravel mountain roads on Route 56, but we made it safe and sound.  We actually drove past the trailhead parking lot another 5 miles to a country store to get some snacks for the hike.  We got back just in time as Leslie and Chris were arriving.

Tip:  If you're going to hike to Crabtree Falls on a nice day, arrive early!  The parking lot fills quickly and the trail up will be less crowded and the hiking will be more pleasant early in the morning.

At the beginning of the hike when we were fresh!

The Falls extended way up towards the horizon!  Up we climbed as we traded stories with Leslie and Chris.

Up we go!

And up….

And up….

And up...

And up….

Still smiling at the top!

Summit selfie.

Going down was much easier and seeing all the strained faces headed in the other direction made us feel better about our own aches and pains.

After a short drive, we arrived at our reward, the Devil's Backbone Brewery near Afton VA.  We had a nice lunch with some liquid painkillers (DB's fine crafted beers and blood orange margaritas), and then pointed our chariot south towards Virginia Beach.

Can't wait to do our next day hike and get back to Staunton to do more exploring!



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pleasure House Point 1-30-14

I wanted to get pictures of Pleasure House Point with the snow.  We had such a nice sunset last night I wanted to see how it served as a backdrop for the woods, wetlands, and water of PHP.  I was not disappointed (until my battery quit!).