Definitely a crazy, eclectic week - starting with the weather. We had rain, sun, wind, and snow.....quite a mix, One day it didn't get above 36 degrees and the next day it was nearly 60 degrees. Sure makes it interesting to determine what type of clothing to wear....but it also produces some pretty scenery!
A beautiful ball of fire in the sky as we leave the office.
I forgot something and had to run back in the office. When I came back outside 5 minutes later, the sky looked like this......pink tinged clouds were beautiful but a sign of things to come the next day.
There was no precipitation forecast for Tuesday so I was not wearing my warmest clothes. Just a few minutes after we arrived at the office I looked out the window and discovered we were experiencing snow showers. It snowed for an hour or two and then stopped but a cold wind was blowing and did a pretty good job of blowing the tiny bit of snow around the parking lot.
You may have guessed that I am mostly a fair weather kind of gal and get tired of the rain and don't like snow and cold.....or the gray skies that go with those things. So, this week was a bit challenging, but I felt a little better when I checked the weather in Northern Arizona, Evanston, Wyoming, and Gilbert, Arizona. All of them were having some weather challenges as well so I decided to try to control the whining ;-)
Wednesday as we left the apartment headed for the office, I noticed this when we came to the first stop light after leaving the apartment complex.
Look at all those birds sitting on the wire in almost the exact same position. As we turned the corner and got a closer view we could see that they all had their heads tucked under their wings.....either sleeping or trying to avoid the cold!
As we left the office for lunch, we were greeted by these 3 big ravens looking for food. It is not uncommon to see a single raven on a fairly regular basis but I had not seen a group of them all searching for food.
As we left the grocery store on Saturday afternoon, I looked up to see the sky full of birds. Hmmmm....I'm wondering if we have more birds here than Arizona because we have more trees - I think there might be a correlation. I jokingly told Elder Ashton, "Well, I think this mission is 'for the birds'........not serious though because we do still love what we are doing!
One of the challenges I deal with living back here is that the culture is quite different and since I don't know my way around very well, nothing seems familiar so I find myself feeling anxious quite often. As we were sitting in the apartment on New Year's Eve, I was sure there was gunfire going off in the parking lot, and Elder Ashton assured me it was fireworks. I finally decided he was right, but still find myself feeling anxious. It doesn't help that we live about a mile away from a fire station and we hear sirens on a very regular basis, This week, one of my co-workers pointed out a news article naming the 10 most dangerous cities in Virginia.......Guess which city had the distinction of being named #1 - Portsmouth where the office/church is. Guess that explains all the sirens.
I've been keeping my eye on this unique tree that is across the street from the mission office. I looks like only half the tree has produced berries/blossoms and I really couldn't tell what it was, so I drove over there on my way back from and errand and found this interesting speciman. There really are a few berries on the other parts of the tree,but they pale in comparison to the huge clumps on the one side. Elder Ashton and I were discussing what might cause this and he guessed it might be related to the side of the tree that faces the sun for the most hours each day........don't know the reason but find the tree very interesting!
Large clumps of berries
A closer view of the large clumps
Some of you may remember our earlier adventures in crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. Although I am getting a little more confident in crossing over or under the water, when the news reported this week that a tractor/trailer drove off the edge of the bridge and into the bay, I felt my anxiety levels rise again.
You will note that the guard rail is totally missing where the truck went over the edge and as we were setting out on our Saturday adventure, Elder Ashton misunderstood a question I asked him and told me we were going to go over the big bridge/tunnel. I felt my heart rate speed up as I asked a follow-up question and was relieved to learn he had misunderstood me and we were only going over the smaller bridge/tunnel to get to NewPort News.
After a week of paying bills and writing some instructions for my replacement, I was ready for some kind of an adventure on Saturday. Elder Ashton wanted to go to a car show and rather than stay home and do laundry and clean, I told him I would go with him and I was sure I could find something interesting to look at. I was right.......but felt like I needed to have multiple wardrobes to fit in with the eclectic mix of people and vehicles. I couldn't decide if I should have worn bell bottoms and peace signs, a tube top, overalls/county clothes, or diamonds and furs. Check out the variety of vehicles below.
I liked this one - it could pass as a St. Johns Redskins vehicle with its nice red and white paint job.
This fancy red and black one reminded me of my high school days - probably should have had my bell bottoms and peace signs on:
This one was interesting because it sat right on the floor. Elder Ashton was studying it out closely to see how they could drive it - he thinks there is a mechanism attached under the cross bar that lifts the car.
These "rat" vehicles were pretty interesting - I think these deserve a tube top wardrobe :)
Notice the rats accessorizing this bike - made me laugh
This is a mint green Fiat - notice the "comfy" back seats.
Another Fiat - notice the rattan seats and the fringe on top.
I'm thinking these call for a southern belle type wardrobe with a big floppy hat.
Orange is not my favorite color, but this 1941 Willys was so shiny I just had to snap a picture.
I wonder how many hours a week are spent working on this and polishing it up?
This Barn Find that will begin restoration in 2016 was interesting to me. I look at it and see nothing but dollar signs and lots of hard work. Elder Ashton looks at something like this and sees an exciting project! As I listened to the owners talking to one another I was surprised at the dollar amounts they were talking about. One man was talking about a car he just acquired for $46,000 and said he was planning to put at least another $40,000 into the car. I would not have guessed by his jeans and t-shirt wardrobe that he had that kind of money readily available!
I like to call this car shown in the 3 shots above the Americana Cruiser. You can see that patriotic scenes are displayed on both sides and a working water feature embedded in a star studded structure fits in the hatch back. All I can say is "Unique"
The shot is blurry but as you can see Elder Ashton was intently studying the Dusenberg information. There were 2 of them and they were really fancy. I think these cars demand a diamond and furs wardrobe :)
We had a good time on our adventure and I thought it was very appropriate for Elder Ashton who is affectionately called, "The Chariot Master", the Car Czar", "the Car Guy", etc. I could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he thought about the mechanics and engineering of each car that he was interested in.
We came back to Portsmouth to the grocery store and then fixed dinner for the young Sister Missionaries. On Friday they asked me if I had any neighbors they could take cookies to so I told them maybe they could take them to the neighbor behind us. She actually stopped in on Friday evening and I asked her if we could bring some cookies by on Saturday night. She seemed reticent but said she might drop in at our apartment. I didn't hear anything more from here so I was totally surprised when she knocked on our door at 5 p.m. and agreed to stay for dinner and to let the missionaries teach her a little about the church. Eldre Ashton and I were both able to bear out testimonies about the gospel and the sisters did as well. The feelings were strong in the room and our friend/neighbor was touched and thanked the sisters for teaching her. She didn't invite them to come back again or agree to go to church but she did agree that she would like a Book of Mormon so Elder Ashton gave her one with our testimony inside the front cover and the Proclamation on the Family inside the back cover. She said she had not planned to come but all of a sudden she decided she wanted to come. I hope she enjoyed the dinner, the conversation, and our friendship. She told me the other day that she will really miss us when we return to Arizona.
I feel much more confident working in the office, paying bills and keeping records but am learning that I can tell others about the happiness the gospel brings to my life. We keep very busy and hope we are making a difference in lives.