Sunday, September 30, 2007

#245 Filling an Architecture Void

I like architecture and presentations.

So Friday after work I walked to the UVa School of Architecture to sit in on the annual Michael Owen Jones Memorial Lecture.

For an hour and a half, Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott described the work they do at their San Francisco firm IwamotoScott Architecture.

  • Architecture students keep Moleskine in business.
  • When architects design a house to fit around an existing tree, they create a "tree void".
  • When architects design a house to accommodate fog, they create a "fog void".
  • Folks from Buffalo Junction, Virginia keep their cell phone ringers on max volume at all times.
  • I hadn't heard the word "funicular" since Turkey.
  • Architects spend a lot of time and effort designing things that will never be built. When asked about staying motivated in that environment, Iwamoto equated unbuilt projects to investments in research.
Looking back, I think I made a good choice in creating a Friday evening "time void" to make an investment in my architecture education.

Yours in creating, then filling, voids,

#244 KLP and UNESCO

Our friend Bridget came to visit us this weekend.

She flew from Omaha to Charlottesville - no easy task - to help us with our key lime pie research!

We altered the Johnston Visitor Plan and spent all our time close to home. (The JVP can be tailored to suit all visitor wishes. Come see!)

During our tour of the UVa grounds, I mentioned (bragged) that Monticello and the university are a UNESCO world heritage site. This, of course, leads to the question... how many world heritage sites are there anyway? And it leads to another important question... is anyone working on the list of KLP world culinary sites?

Since I still don't have an iPhone, we later researched these questions at home. Turns out, there are 20 world heritage sites in the US. Oh the places we need to go!

And amazingly enough, I am the only one working on the list of KLP world culinary sites. Oh the research we need to do!

Yours in appreciating those who take 3 flights to study key lime pie and to lengthen our places-to-go list,

Sunday, September 23, 2007

#243 George's barn

Kelly has long wanted to see George Washington's barn. Haven't you?

Washington's farm site stretches over four acres, just a few minutes from his mansion at Mount Vernon, adjacent to the Potomac River.

But how do you get there? If only I was touring Mount Vernon with a couple of GIS specialists and map readers extraordinaire!
Kelly and Chris succeeded - I knew they would - in navigating us to the 16-sided barn where horses were used to tread wheat. In addition to his other 18th-century responsibilities, Washington was a farmer. He experimented with crop rotation, fertilizers, and plowing practices, and was among the first to abandon tobacco production in favor of wheat.
Yours in barn visiting (barn hopping?),

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

#242 My Year of Jane Austen

Are you a Janeite?

I fear I may be. This year, I’ve read the 6 Austen novels and the Austen biography by Jon Spence, Becoming Jane Austen. At the theater, I hurried to see Becoming Jane.

I'm obsessed!

And tonight, when the Virginia Film Society gave me the opportunity to see a preview of Jane Austen Book Club before its release in the big cities of New York and LA, I jumped at the chance with both feet.

And I'm glad I did. When you get the chance, be a Janeite!

Yours in appreciating the Austen-created world of wit and order,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

#241 Creeping

"Virginia's finest rail-trail, the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail, occupies the bed of what was once a rugged mountain railroad between Abingdon and the Virginia-North Carolina border."
"With 100 trestles and bridges, sharp curves, and steep grades, the Virginia Creeper was the quintessential mountain railroad. Train crews faced wash-outs, rock slides, and other hazards, but it was economics that sounded the line's death whistle. Having failed to turn a profit since the Great Depression, the Creeper ran its last train on March 31, 1977. Less than a century after the railroad arrived, the Virginia Creeper once again became a quiet trail. The circle was complete." - Virginia Creeper Trail Club
Thanks to the Virginia Creeper Trail Club, we enjoyed a gorgeous Saturday in southwest Virginia - with me on my Huffy and Kelly on The Beast (courtesy of K&M.) We didn't ride the entire 35 miles, but we made it the 6 miles to this fabulous view, before we turned back.
Yours in creeping,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

#240 Left behind

Semester at Sea for Fall 2007 has set sail without us on board!
Yes, it's true. The MV Explorer has somehow made it all the way from San Diego to Japan while I'm still standing here on dry land.

Kathy is the UVa librarian on the ship this semester. Her clever and in-depth blog includes a lot of her library experiences, so you librarians out there will want to check that out. Thankfully, she is not cursing the Semester at Sea library coordinator back in Charlottesville.

Alexis, also from UVa, is working as the ship’s registrar. I've not met Alexis, but after reading her witty blog, I look forward to meeting her when she returns.

Yours in being a little bit jealous of Kathy and Alexis,

Monday, September 10, 2007

#239 The Johnston Visitor Plan

It’s been a quiet week here in Lake Wobegon - oops, I mean Charlottesville.

But that’s probably just because we’re comparing it with last weekend when Joyce was in town.

Joyce came from Kansas City to spend the Labor Day weekend with us. We took the opportunity to show her around our new home and try out our new Johnston Visitor Plan.

So far, the JVP includes a handful of top-notch local attractions such as a UVa women’s volleyball game, a tour of Monticello, a UVa library and grounds tour, key lime pie at The Nook, a picnic on Skyline Drive, and a hike on the Appalachian Trail...
We all had a lot of fun and the JVP is set to move from beta to full production. To provide input on the JVP at any time, come see us.

Yours in appreciating the guinea pig,

Saturday, September 08, 2007

#238 Kelly and the senator

Virginia Senator John Warner stopped by Charlottesville last week. The senator wanted his good friend Kelly to be at hand when he announced his retirement.
Yours in wondering why Kelly wasn't at work at 2:00 in the afternoon,

Thursday, September 06, 2007

#237 Eyes on Indy

You're looking good, Indy.

One of us tuned in to watch NBC's coverage of the pre-game celebration on Monument Circle. The other tuned in a little later for the Colts game.

Sure, I'd like to see the Colts win the season opener, but most of all I just wanted a peek at you. You're looking good.

Here's our favorite Colts photo taken just outside the dome...
Thanks to everyone for staying in touch. We miss you.

Yours in loving the blue Circle City,

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

#236 Great Falls Park

Always a special day in this house, 9/4 was celebrated this year with a trip to Great Falls Park.

The Great Falls of the Potomac are a spectacular natural landmark near Washington D.C. managed by the National Park Service. Here in northern Virginia, the Potomac River builds up speed over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge, producing the steepest fall line rapids of any eastern river.  Lovely.

Yours in admiring the Potomac up close,

Sunday, September 02, 2007

#235 Returning to the scene

Here is the Hill family Christmas photo for 1966. That's me standing next to my brother. My parents built this house on 20 acres in rural Fairfax, VA in the early 1960's and we lived in it until 1967.

Here are Kelly and me standing in front of that same fireplace more than 40 years later. [Photo credit: Joyce Kullman]
Obviously the fireplace shrunk.

The current owner believed my story about growing up in his house and invited us in for some reminiscing. And that we did.

Thanks to Dad for building a house that lasts and thanks to Chris for letting us in.

Yours in returning to the scene,