Catch-up and Other Stuff


On April 24, I started this post, but never finished. The purpose was mainly to catch up and let y’all know I’d be leaving for my solo adventure on Saturday. As in LAST Saturday, April 29. But then I had the busiest work week ever, leading up to the trip, and never got around to finishing the post. So here it is…

Holy cow. How did it get to be so close to the end of April already?!? So much for me trying to get all of the 2016 vacation catalogued before my 2017 adventure begins.

It has almost been a month since my last post. On one hand, it feels uneventful. On the other hand, a lot has gone on.

Let’s see, there was the visit to my friend Tracey’s farm, which provided a chance for three friends to catch-up with each other AND an opportunity to meet, feed, and love-on four three-week-old baby goats.

That was followed by another brief trip to Charlottesville, Virginia, . where my employer’s headquarters is located. I got to enjoy some face-to-face time with existing co-workers and meet a few new ones.

There were a few weekends of yard work, each followed by five to six days of very sore and achy muscles.

We even managed to squeeze-in a motorcycle ride on Easter Sunday!

When I was blogging regularly, I could look back at a variety of posts as a reminder of what happened, when. I’ve lost that. Now, I have to rely on things like Instagram and Facebook. Of the two, I prefer Instagram. Its only downfall being that images are not dated. I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I love being able to keep up with friends and loved ones. I hate that there’s so much negativity. I’m torn between wanting to pull the plug on my Facebook account and maybe whittling down my list of “friends” to people I care about, with whom I share at least some sort of valid connection. There are many folks on that list who I rarely, if ever interact with. I suspect many of them probably have just unfollowed me (elected NOT to see any of my posts, often the last step before actually removing oneself from a friend list and/or severing the cord of friendship).

In other news, I learned a fun new word — pareidolia — after receiving an email from Ry (from Two Wheels to There) containing a link to a web page with a funny collection of images. In that case, the word refers to seeing faces in everyday objects, but it’s apparently an all-encompassing term to describe a “psychological phenomenon” wherein one perceives familiar patterns, like faces, where none exists. The image shared below is one of my favorites among a nice collection that made me laugh out loud on more than a few occasions.


There are lots of great pics on that page. You should check it out.

Finally, I am excited to say that I’ll be leaving on Saturday for my Big 50 Adventure. I figured I deserved to celebrate making it to my fiftieth birthday, and a solo adventure seemed like a great idea.

I’ve told y’all before that Hubby and I enjoy riding together, but we have different riding styles. He likes to cover long distances in short periods of time and I like to meander, stop often, and look at stuff. Oh, and take pictures, too.

Periodic solo trips are good for the soul. I’m not planning ahead either. All I know is that my first stop will be Monterey, Virginia (there’s a new LOVEwork there). I’ll plan the route as I go.

For those who are interested, there’ll be a Spotwalla Tracker Map. That’s how Hubby can keep an eye on me.

Nothing Feels Good

Random, fun image.

Tuesday was the first day in a long time that my workday ended with no future deadlines hanging over my head. After hitting SEND on Tuesday’s final deliverable, I pushed my chair back away from my desk thinking, “tomorrow, I have nothing due.”


It was awesome. It’s been a crazy-busy few weeks.

Nothing really does feel good.

Thats not to say I don’t have anything to do, just nothing that MUST be done Wednesday or Thursday.  Working under tight deadline pressure can be mentally exhausting. And I’m finding that the older I get, the harder it gets. Yes, I can still do it, but it’s draining. All-consuming.

Here’s an example of just how consuming. Last week, I was supposed to pull a homeless nine-month-old Brittany puppy named Gus from the local SPCA shelter. I was supposed to do it on Thursday, to be exact.

Thursday morning, out of the blue, two important work deadlines shifted. That meant I really had to hustle to get several things done much sooner than anticipated. I was working away Thursday afternoon, so focused on meeting those new deadlines, that I completely FORGOT to go get the puppy.

Okay, I didn’t forget, I lost track of time. But still. That’s just forgetfulness with a good reason.

What kind of person forgets a puppy!?!

I was mortified. What if he was handed over to someone else? His new family would have been devastated!

Luckily, he was still there on Friday. I showed up 30 minutes before they opened so I’d be the first person in line. All worked out, thank goodness. I really would have felt horrible if I hadn’t been able to bring him home. His new family had already planned to come pick him up Friday evening.

He was a cutie, but a handful. He weighed 40 pounds (same as my K), but was about eight inches taller than K, and about 10 inches taller than Belle. Both of my girls are petite Brittanys, and Gus is tall for a Britt. The difference was quite amusing.

He may have looked like an adult, but he was all puppy. He rarely sat still, and was quite mischievous.

This cracked me up. Accidental pic that looks like one of my selfies!


Belle was like, "WTF? Get this crazy boy out of here."
Belle was like, “WTF? Get this crazy boy out of here.”

K just stayed under my desk. LOL.

I picked him up at noon, and had a deadline to meet by the end of the day. Talk about adding a little extra stress.

Frog Legs!


Thank God I had a deer antler handy.
Thank God I had a deer antler handy.

Seriously, giving him something to chew saved the day.

What a cute face!
What a cute face!

Orange and white is the most-common color pattern for Brittanys. My girls are less-common.

He was much taller than my girls.
He was much taller than my girls.

He really wanted to play, but my grumpy old ladies were having no parts of that.

Grumpy Old Ladies

It made for an entertaining afternoon, but I wasn’t sorry to see him go. Especially since he went to a young, hunting family with a two year old Brittany sister for Gus. It’s a match made in Heaven for Gus.

And a happy ending for me. 🙂


In Absentia

It’s been an interesting year. One during which I’ve largely been absent. You know, here but not HERE.

Great new-to-me home decor. If I wanted a gold man mannequin.

A photo posted by Kathy Kirkpatrick (@vatoadmama) on

I’ve given up trying to understand why. Truth is, I just don’t know.

One thing I do know is that I am thankful for each and every one of my followers. Folks like you. Blog friends who haven’t given up on me. Even though I’ve been noticeably absent from your blogs, too. If you follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram, you know I’m still alive. Still getting out and about in the world, more on four wheels than two.

I’m going to make a real concerted effort to be more present for all of you. Both writing more posts here and reading what you all have to say.  You folks “get” parts of me that other friends and loved ones don’t understand.

So, thanks for sticking with me. You may never know just how grateful I am for each and every one of you.


Um, what!?!
Um, what!?!

That’s how one co-worker described her feeling upon hearing the news, a week ago today, that I’d been laid off.

She’s a Brit, and they have some fun words, don’t they? Well, it would be more fun if it weren’t being used to describe last Friday’s announcement that my employment had suddenly been terminated.

I was told it wasn’t performance-related. It was because our sales team hadn’t met their goals. So the CEO decided to completely eliminate about half of the proposals staff (me) and 17 other people across the firm.

Yep, I am currently unemployed. I am not bitter; it’s business. Was I shocked? Absolutely. Am I worried? Yes and no. I have lots of good prospects, a strong track record, and great references, but the search process takes time. I have been putting in lots of hours networking frantically all week. I’ve even had a couple of good phone interviews already.

Having a good, responsive recruiter on my side would help though. So, if you know of anyone who works as a life sciences recruiter, let me know. Please.

Now I need to get back to “work” finding a new job! I’ll get back to vacation re-caps once I make some more progress.

Most-Unusual Wear Pattern

I found a very interesting seashell at Virginia Beach last week. It was actually just a piece of a shell. Most of the shells I was seeing were completely pulverized.

I’ve been told shells get pulverized like that when there’s a dredging/beach replenishment effort in an area. I can’t say whether that’s the case in Virginia Beach or not, but I do know there were lots of rocks/stones and pulverized shells along the beach.

That’s okay, because even small things can be interesting, whether they are whole or not.

Most-Interesting Wear Pattern

I though the wear pattern on this piece of shell was really cool. You’re looking at the inside of what was once a much-thicker shell. The other side just looks like the outside of any other unremarkable shell.

The pic is grainy because it’s an extreme close-up, taken with my phone while I was sitting on the beach. That piece is actually pretty little. I’d guesstimate bigger than a dime, but smaller than a nickel.

Let’s see…

Compared to Coins
Compared to Coins

I did find one shell that looked to be pretty perfect.

A Perfect Shell
A Perfect Shell

But it was hard to tell without my close-up-vision glasses.

Looks Deceiving
Looks Can Be Deceiving

Did you think that perfect shell would be so small? 🙂

I May Need a 12-Step Program

Hi, my name is Kathy, and I am a photoholic. I take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. But, even worse, I am a photo hoarder.

Bleeding Heart

That flower image is one of hundreds of gigabytes of images that I don’t need to keep. I mean, it’s pretty, but why do I need to keep it? Like, for years? I don’t. I really need to concentrate on keeping only those images that mean something to me.

Unlike many people, I don’t store the images on my camera and/or phone forever, I actually upload them to my hard drive in a pretty timely fashion. That’s where they tend to sit. For like a year or more.

Recently, over the past six months or so, I have noticed my computer getting slower and slower. I’m not really inclined to buy a new one at the moment, so I just grit my teeth, do what I have to do on the pokey-ass thing, and then get off of it.

That slowness is probably one of the reasons you haven’t seen much of me lately.

The weather this holiday weekend has been rather wet. So I spent the day on Sunday deleting and moving image files. I think it has helped. Yay!

All is well here. I haven’t been riding as much as I’d like, but other stuff — good stuff — has been keeping me busy.

Remember my quest for LOVE? I haven’t given up. Even though I am chasing a moving target — more LOVEworks keep getting added — I really enjoy getting out and see the sculptures.

Guess how many I have captured so far? Forty-six! That’s a lot, right? This is a big state!

Unfortunately, the Virginia tourism folks don’t keep the master list up-to-date, so I don’t know how many there currently are. Whatever… who really cares about statistics? I like looking for LOVE. LOL.

Here are my latest captures…

LOVEwork in Crozet, Virginia


Early Mountain UNK
LOVEwork in Madison, Virginia

I’m not sure if the Madison LOVE is official or not. It’s not listed on the web site, so I have no idea who it belongs to. I suspect, however, that it might be on the Early Mountain Vineyard property. I captured that image from Wolftown-Hood Road (VA-230).

LOVEwork at Airlie (near Warrenton, Virginia)


The last image is just a few minutes from my house. I guess Airlie is technically in Warrenton, but it’s not in the downtown area where I live. It’s less than four miles away, though, which is cool.

And it’s actually a pretty place. I should go there more often.

Parked at Airlie for the LOVE capture.

I’ll try to catch y’all up on what’s been happening ’round here. The exciting stuff, anyway. Like visits with grand kids, a trip to my friend’s rose showcase, a few rides we’ve done, etc. Oh, and a few craft projects. Another reason I’ve been away from the pokey computer.

Yes, that stuff is exciting to me. I’m getting old.

TTFN, peeps!