Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Newsletter 2009

We wish you all a Merry Christmas. Our major event for 2009 was moving into the new house at Mount Vintage in June. It was a lot of work, but we're very happy with the results. Once the few remaining punch list items are completed, we hope to start entertaining again.

Lisa enjoyed the pool during the summer, floating, reading and swimming. We had chosen to do all the landscaping ourselves so she worked on the garden in her free time. On the weekends, Steve dug holes as instructed and carried heavy items. If you'd like to see pictures of the house and garden, please visit "Construction Central" on the web.

Summertime in the pool allowed Lisa to finish all her book clubs' books for the next year and she continued to be involved with several local organizations including the Suburban Woman's Club of Augusta, the Cherokee Rose Garden Club and the Pawprints Foundation.

Cleo immediately loved the new house because she is able to run free on the empty lots all around us. She enjoys chasing deer and any other wildlife she can find. We don't enjoy chasing after her through dense woods, but Lisa doesn't like to let her out of her sight so she plunges along behind. Heidi enjoys a couple of short walks a day, also relishing her freedom. Her arthritis seems to be under control and she's a very happy old dog, still enjoying the occasional tug of war with Cleo, who sometimes lets her win.

Steve is writing software from home four days a week, and petro-commuting on Mondays. He finds that working at home on his trusty Mac is not much different from being in the office, except the commute is noticeably shorter and the dress code is somewhat relaxed.

Steve is now attending church at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Edgefield, about ten miles north of our house. The granite church was constructed by Irish stone masons around 1860. It's a small parish of about 150 friendly people. We share our priest and a deacon with another parish in a neighboring county. Edgefield is a quaint old town, the home of ten governors and a turkey museum.

In October, Steve attended his 25-year reunion at Stanford. He had a great time reconnecting with old friends. While he was in town, he also saw schoolmates from Bellarmine and St. Christopher's. His parents are doing well in San Jose. His sister and her family live nearby. His brother came down to visit from Davis. It was a wonderful trip.

We're looking forward to settling into the new house in the coming year and becoming a part of the community.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Steve and Lisa

Friday, November 27, 2009


We had Thanksgiving lunch at the Grille, early, so Steve could get 9 holes of golf in afterwards. It wasn't busy - a bit too cold to be busy - so I walked around with him. He played the Vintage Nine so I was able to take pictures and see parts of Mt Vintage from the golf course rather than the road. It was a good afternoon and hopefully we have started a new tradition.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brain Fruit Tree

Steve and I took Cleo for a walk in the woods - on one of the trails at the third roundabout in Mt Vintage. We (Cleo with us in tow) chased deer and waded through 4' high weeds and finally had to make a path through the woods to get back to a road - fortunately it was a road in Mt Vintage. We found some fruit that looked like brains so we Googled it and found Maclura pomifera.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

We're out in the boonies so we didn't expect any trick-or-treaters. We went to a Halloween party at the Mount Vintage Grille. The picture is one of our jack-o'-lanterns.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stanford Reunion

I attended my 25-year reunion at Stanford and had a great time. It was fun to reconnect with my old college friends, including Bill and Dianne (pictured here, I'm almost in the picture on left).

If you're interested, I posted my Stanford classbook page for the Class of '84 reunion. Todd got me a ticket for the game so I was able to sit with him in the new stadium -- this was my first time back since it was built a couple of years ago. Stanford played a fantastic game and beat Arizona State. Toby Gerhart definitely deserves Heisman consideration.

While I was in town, I also got to see other friends and family. I had lunch at Bellarmine with an old teacher, Tom Alessandri, who knew Mike well. I also got together with a few Bellarmine friends and got caught up a bit with what's happening with my St. Chris buddies.

I got to see my niece, Ashley, playing field hockey. Presentation has one of the top teams this year. My nephew, Michael, is in eighth grade at St. Chris and is planning to attend Bellarmine next year. It was nice to see them again in person. Mom and Dad are looking good. It's hard to believe their son is getting so old.

And I should mention that the weather was perfect. I wore shorts to a night game in October. Really, a great trip.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spent the Summer floating

This is the good life. Working on the garden in the mornings and floating in the pool for the afternoon. What could be better? I've read some good books and done lots of thinking while swimming and floating. Cleo watches from the side. She fell in once - and jumped right out again. Looks like my last swim of the year will have been September 27th.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day weekend project

Who knew that Steve could turn out to be a master carpenter. Progress was slow but we got it done. Lisa handled the mitre saw with skill!

Cleo takes over Bertie's sofa

The picture says it all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

St. Mary's in Edgefield

After moving into the new house, I began attending Mass at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Edgefield, about ten miles north of our home. It's a small parish, with a congregation of about 150 people. Nothing like the large Catholic churches that I had been used to, but it's actually a refreshing change. The old church is a beautiful granite building, completed around 1860. The parishioners are friendly, and I've met several people who live in our development. The long-time pastor recently died (before I joined). We're fortunate to have a newly assigned priest and a married deacon as our ministers. I look forward to getting to know people here and becoming part of the community.

[Update: St. Mary's now has a web site.]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Front looking almost finished

The front plants are in, the garage doors are on and we are looking like an inhabited house - at least from the front. The back still needs work but we are getting there.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lisa's other blogs

I've started a new blog to record all my garden work - Carolina Gardener - and I'm also starting to add to my Garden Guru blog which I would like to use for garden-related matters such as book reviews and plant sales and good places to visit.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th - first guests

It seems quite appropriate that our first guests should come on July 4th - and both be English. Ken and Ruth joined us for lunch at the Town Center and then drinks and nibbles in the pool. We also watched the parade and the fly bys.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pool gets water

Just two days after moving in and the pool is getting water. It's also our 15th Wedding Anniversay - thanks Steve - the best present ever.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Move in day

After many months of hard work it is finally moving day. The plants came first - we rented a truck and moved the plants and the small stuff on Thursday, June 4th but the truck with our bed came today and we will spend the night here tonight for the first time.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I decided that I was capable of painting some of the rooms in the house so Haynes said "Go ahead, start with the conservatory." I now believe this was meant to deter me. The conservatory interior is finished with grooved plywood - it is very rough - and very hard to paint. In four hours I covered maybe 8 square feet. But it looks good - yellow. The top of the gable is also very high so Steve has to be there to hold me on the ladder. After several days I got it done - two coats of yellow to just above the windows, then white above the trim strip. Looks very good. After that I figured anything else would be easy. So I took on the Mud Room, Pantry, Kitchen Closet, Hall Closets, Master Toilet, Steve's Closet, My Closet, Steve's Office and its Closet. Plus the garage but that is for much later. Sam, the painter, is letting me cheat by doing all the edges for me - so all I have to do is roll.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

At the Masters

Lisa finally got to see Augusta National for the third day of practice, Wednesday. It was a cool but beautiful day. We got there early, just in time to see Tiger going out. We followed him for a few holes and then caught up with him again to have a photo taken "with" him. We also saw Gary Player, Lee Westwood and countless others - a great day out.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Exterior Progress

We now have steps up to the front door and siding on the garage - and don't forget the soffits, frieze and fascia boards. The photo is a little distorted - see if you can see the join.

New Conservatory

The conservatory was finally added to the side of the house - it is going to be a great place for the cold sensitive plants - and for cold-sensitive Lisa to sit and read a book in the depths of winter.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Granite Selection

We went to Elberton, GA to meet with Sid Gailey of Star Granite Interiors. He took us to SlabCo, a granite warehouse in Elberton, to look at slabs. Here's what we selected:
Kitchen - Norwegian Spirit of Pearl
Butler's Pantry - Galactica Blue
Bar - Mahogany Blue Eyes

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Steve Joins In With Construction

Steve and Haynes putting in a window on a sunny Sunday afternoon in February - they had to put it in place to prevent it from being stolen again!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holly or Not?

Today Lisa gave a talk to her Garden Group from Augusta Newcomers on the subject of Holly or Not? In preparation the new Distinctive English Gardens webpages have been launched - the beginnings of a plant database that Lisa has been contemplating for years!