Sunday, December 27, 2009

Radio Flyer

This made my entire Christmas.

My nephew has the best giggle and now, the coolest wagon on the block.

Love him to pieces.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Olympics 09

I love my gloves. And him. And all of this snow.

We took the tractor and plowed a sledding lane down the back field.

The tractor got stuck and I went down about 3 times before my tush was a solid sheet of ice BUT we had a blast.

Pretty sure I won the competition. It must have been the neon orange lobster claw gloves.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"The landscape demands our attention. It silences us."

Last night on one of our many weekly rides, I sat in the passenger seat of the truck with my head tilted as far as it could go back. I stared up into the sky of the Shenandoah Valley. The stars were burning bright.

Oh, that sky. If you live in an area where you can see that stars in the sky and nothing else when you lift your head, count yourself lucky. I do.

If you live in a city, jump in the car and find a back road- now.

Tonight, after a troubling day, I lifted my head in the night sky as Andrew drove down to the front field to hay the horses. The stars were shining bright again for the second night in a row.

I am in awe of those twinkling lights.

Then I came home to read this on my friend Michael's blog. I can call him a friend because I heard him read one of his stories on a local NPR station and I stalked him down to tell him how much I enjoyed it AND he emailed me back.

That constitutes friendship, right?

Anyways, this sums up the feeling that I have had, watching those stars. He is a very talented writer and I am so glad that I stalked him down and started to follow his blog, One Lucky Man.

Read "Where there are miracles" here, grab some sky and stare.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The creepiest Santa around.

We found him while unpacking christmas decorations.

Of course I wanted him to be on main stage display in our room.

And then I made Olivia have a christmas photo shoot.

man down.

She doesn't look like she enjoys this. But I think she secretly gets into the Christmas spirit.

And now creepy santa will send you off to sleep! Good night!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

One Person. Every Day.

This is Amy. Best friend. Creater of First Wednesdays. Amazing person.

She started a new project called "One Person. Every Day."

She chronicles how someone or something makes her happy each day.

I especially loved her post for December 11, 2009.

She is an incredibly talented writer and I am so lucky to have her in my life.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Raise your hand if you live with your boyfriends parents

I do! I do!

Oh, it's not that bad. Not bad at all actually. It's funny. I clamored my way out of living with at home--the thought was unthinkable post college. But now, after living in the real world, coming home to someone else making dinner and not stroking that rent check each month is pretty darn nice......

for now.

We have big plans that will hopefully become clearer in the coming weeks.

So for now, I will continue to indulge in watching shows like Cops, CSI, and any other murder mystery known to man on t.v. each night with the family.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

oh Christmas Tree.....

Last year Andrew took me to cut down my first EVER real Christmas Tree (plastics ruled the roost in the McQueen household growing up...hey, they make pine scent to mist over them). We went back to the same farm again this year to pick out our beauty!

Here she is!

I supervised this operation...

I think I was a really good supervisor.

And then in usual fashion I grabbed the saw and made it appear that I did all of the work.

Then we literally forced this nice tree woman to take a picture. I was going to let her off of the hook when she told me she didn't like to take pictures....

But Andrew stepped into the situation, "Get over here and take a picture. She will get upset if you don't"

Just a normal day of harassing christmas tree farmers.

We won.

quality of life report

I realized this morning that I made such a big to-do about moving and I haven't even followed up on how my "new life" is.

I feel like I have been on sensory overload. All the newness!!! It feels like a rush and I am finally coming back down.

First thing first: I am reunited with Olivia. (and I think she has dropped a few lbs. living here in the country)

Second thing second: everything seems to be falling into place. Job situation is panning out nicely, living situation is in the works. (I'm just reciting the serenity prayer once, maybe twice daily)

This quote is also helping:

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” - Lao Tzu

It's change. And I have, oh say, a little issue with control.

I am so happy to have my best friend beside me.

( Crabtree Falls, Oct. 09)

Looks like my good luck charms really worked. ;)

"this is my winter song to you"

I fell in love with the song "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles/Ingrid Michaelson after I purchased the album "The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs".

The CD has some great holiday songs with amazing singers. I highly recommend it if you are looking for Christmas music that sounds refreshed and new.

"Winter Song" has been playing on my laptop nonstop.

Happy Sunday! I'm off to make some biscuits and gravy and enjoy this snowy day!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

oh yes it's friday

(Irish, Cool Breeze Stables)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dear Richmond,

Today is the day. Move day.

I remember moving to Richmond post college in 2006 with no plan, no job, no place to live (must be a pattern here with me). I was excited. The world was my oyster. I was going to take it over......

But Richmond, you knocked me down more than a few times.

Thank you. It all made me who I am today. Some people hate the saying "everything happens for a reason" but sometimes, it has been the only thing that has pushed me through. And Richmond, you happened for a reason.

I will miss all of the amazing friends that I have made. (Amy, lifelines. What am I going to do without seeing your faces?) But I know they are the friendships that will last a lifetime so I am continuing to pretend that this is by far NOT goodbye.

I sat last night in my empty apartment, wet and stinky from cleaning and taking trash out in the rain. I grew up there. I loved there, I cried there, I sang there........It will always be a special part of my life. My first apartment by myself. My little retreat. I will miss you.

(Me and Johannah, my first night in the apartment, May 08')

I will miss you Richmond but I am ready to call this home:


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

pumpkin pie hangover

We blessed the turkey and ate....alot.

Norton was the same but diferent. Isn't that the way going home always feels? Nevertheless, I had a great T-day. It was a quick trip home and back but Andrew and I always enjoy a good road trip through VA.

We successfully bugged my Mother in the kitchen while she was cooking until we all got the boot. It is a bit of a family tradition. Each year she gets a little bit better and goes a little bit longer before her face starts to turn red and she "shoos" us all out.

(aren't we nice children?) This is my brother Jason getting way to close to the cook near the stove. The fork is in optimal position to take an eye out.

Andrew jumped right in and really pushed it. This behind the back move could have cost him a arm or leg if Mom would have caught him. I have seen some pretty nasty injuries on Thanksgiving Day.

I tried to help carve the turkey but was quickly shoved to the side. "This is a mans job" was thrown into the conversation. (oh puuuhleaseee)

I loved being with my Mammaw and listening to all of her stories. She is what you would call a "hoot". Mammaw love is the best love.

Mom, once again, cooked us into a food coma. The food was soooooooooooo good. We all agreed that if there was a Wise Country T-Day cookoff competition, she would win first prize hands down.

Isn't she the prettiest thing?

And we shan't forget Mr. Ben.

Oh, Mr. Ben. One day you will come running into my arms saying "Aunt Val you are the best and I love you and I want to just sit in your lap the entire visit".

Until that day comes, I will continue to force you to hug me, kiss me and trick you into taking pictures with me. Love you little bug. ;)

Love to all my friends and family. We are all so blessed.


ps. 3 days until move day :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

countdown continues...

I spent the morning driving back into Richmond. In the rain. But, it wasn't all that bad. Especially when I realized I only have 7 days left in Richmond.
And 2 of those days will be spent traveling and spending time in Norton. Yes, a good ole' foot stompin' Thanksgiving in Norton. Thankfully, my incredibly intuitive, gracious mother realized things would be a bit cramped in the house and booked us a room at the new, 5 story Holiday Inn located in downtown Norton.
Yes. We are going big time for Thanksgiving. I have never stayed in a hotel in my hometown. Should be interesting (i think i will miss being at home...even if it is cramped).

What else, what else...

I had a great weekend. I am fully embracing my country roots. When is the last time you wore overalls? I know, I know...they are not remotely in style, nor should they be, but I LOVE putting the straps on & clicking them in place. I just feel all strapped in and taken care of.
c'mon. you know what I mean.
it's like reverting back to childhood.
anyways. I brushed my horse, made Andrew take pictures and then we ate Little Debbie christmas tree cakes and had a bonfire and roasted hot dogs over the burning drywall that we had cleaned out of the shed earlier to burn.

that was not a good choice.

if anyone ever thinks about it.....just pass along my advice.

It is not, I repeat, a good choice.

Then Glenn, (andrew's dad) gave us a bucket ride in the back hoe.

I love bucket rides. A lot.

especially with this guy:

and here's a cheeser from me:

(notice the grip on the.....well, whatever that part is)

With a to do list that is growing like crazy....(like how I should be packing right now and not playing on the internet machine) it's nice to get away and play with Andrew on the farm.

And that's what we did. All weekend.

And I wore my overalls. All weekend.

hooray for monday. (lies).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

i love...

being here. with him. (even if he does put me to work 'till sunset every day)
Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"It's all happening"

Today I started cleaning out my office.

Today I felt relaxed.

Today I tore the post-it on my desk to reveal that I have 13 days left in Richmond.

A quote from one of my favorite movies, "Almost Famous" keeps popping in my head.

"It's all happening"

I hope to have more pictures from the gala this past weekend to share soon. If you have talked to me in the past um..say year, I am sure I have told you about this. It was the 16th annual Starry Night Gala to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and someone....SOMEONE thought that I could be in charge of it. AH!

I must say though, I feel really proud. It was not anything I achieved by myself but with the help of many many many volunteers, co-workers and folks supporting the Foundation. I can't wait to show pictures but for is the aftermath.

Andrew came in to help volunteer and was my knight in shining armour.

We celebrated the night with fried food and a celebratory drink (oh yes...I did it. GERD can just bite me)

This picture doesn't even capture how excited I was. But, it is a face I like to make when I am REALLY happy and a camera is lying around. (like that fancy schmancy name tag?)

I wasn't just exited. WE were so excited. This has been an event that we were both waiting for for a LOOOONG time. Not only has it been my major focus at work but it was our countdown for the move.

"Just wait until the gala is over"

"You will be so relieved when it is over"

"You will be moving just 2 weeks after the gala"

"We will be together so soon"

Right now, all I can think is, "It's all happening".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

happy birthday

i love you to the moon and back.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"If you don't like cats you don't like me"

While we are on the topic of therapy and self help and random cat cartoons, I believe that animals are a huge stress reliever. If I ever had a bad day I would just come home, scoop Olivia up and hug her until she got that look in her eyes like, "girl, i'm 'bout to bite you" (I believe that if Olivia could talk she would sound like Vivica A. Fox or Wanda Sykes). And I would always feel better.

I miss that 14lb love muffin (so she might be a little big boned).

Olivia has been living with Andrew for over 3 weeks now. I was going back and forth too much and she started to rebel here in Richmond. He says she is such a happier cat. She gets "turn out time" everyday. She runs around and plays with his moms shih tzu pups. She gets to be sassy and flirty with the big dogs (she has a way with large canines. It has been documented). She is so happy that sometimes she just up and decides to poo in Andrew's bathtub.

(There is no rhyme or reason behind her pooing in the bathtub. She just does it sporadically. The same spot. For no reason other than to say "Every once in a while I like to take a poo in the bathtub. So what? What you gonna do about it?" There is nothing wrong with her box.....sometimes she poos in it, sometimes she wants the bathtub. Any suggestions on what to do?)

She is a sass pants cat and she doesn't miss Richmond one bit. Problem is I miss her terribly. I stumbled upon this video that I took one night practicing my mad guitar skills (oh yes, A-E-D...gotcha down boys, gotcha down pat). Watch for the Olivia cameo.

You are my sunshine from Valerie McQueen on Vimeo.

I love her little face. I miss her little face.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

sometimes dreams really do come true.

(I might be imagining that I am that stick girl on the dinosaurs back, boozing and getting the hell out of dodge.)

Happy Humpday Folks.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

day by day.

Image found at 37days

"Every day is day one.
Every single, stinkin' day.
Each one.
The next day.
Not as punishment of failure, but as a gift."

I apologize that my blog has turned into my self help gallery. Maybe when you have those days when you feel just plum, bat-sh@t-crazy (as Andrew delicately put it this weekend), you will browse upon this post and go, "By golly, I'm not the ONLY one!!"

But then again, maybe you deal well with change and do not have to recite the Serenity Prayer twice daily and maybe you don't use words like "golly".

But I do. I have to.

I wish I could find the girl that posted this. She is somewhere....just not sure where she is hiding.

Truth is, I'm scared. I'm waking up with an elephant on my chest every morning.

The familiar feelings start to press deep into my chest and then comes the constant tape recorder in my head....the list of things still to do. The things I will miss. The things I never accomplished in Richmond. The things I have accomplished in Richmond.....the list goes on and on.

But as sure as sun comes up, the one thing that takes it all away is music. It is my one true release and unfortunately the one thing I tend to suppress when I am stressed. (why is that?...I'm not sure either)

So. I will stop being so hard on myself. I will pick up my guitar and play, knowing that when I put it down my chest will feel lighter, my heart fuller.

Yes. I'll play music when things start to get tough. But I'll also watch this video of my cousin from Kentucky torturing Andrew over and over. I love that laugh. And you gotta love a deep Kentucky accent.

And this week, above all weeks, I will take each day by day.
Every single, stinkin' day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

jumpin jehosaphat

We are less than two weeks away from holding a 300+ black tie event that I have been working on for over a year.

I am 28 days away from moving. 28. Slight panic has taken over. (lies. major panic has taken over)

Thankfully, I am armed with the best friends and family one could ask for, especially in these trying times.

AND there are a lot of things making and keeping me happy. Let's make a happy list.


Someone let me cut in front of them at the grocery store today because I only had three items. That was really sweet and it made me happy.

Tomorrow is First Wednesdays. The theme is soup. Everyone brings some soup and then instead of a craft this month we are exchanging bowls. Like soup bowls. I love this months theme.

I voted today. That made me feel all American.

I am making potato soup for First Wednesdays in my crockpot.

Last night, Johannah let me have a whole conversation about how pretty I think my cat is. ", no, really Johannah. She could be in the movies. Have you ever seen a cat that looks so pretty?" She also fed me. I really loved her last night.

RAMBLES. SHAMBLES. I need to go to bed.


Friday, October 30, 2009


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Directorial debut.

Halfway through a jar of Nutella, I decided to put the plastic knife down and do something productive tonight.

Here's what I came up with! I took a stab at putting some videos we shot this past summer.

(this made me itch to be at the farm, near all of this beautiful land!)


Monday, October 26, 2009

you should hang out with us on Saturday nights

We cranked out the fun factory on Saturday night.

Who needs to go out in the big city when you can stay snug at home and have a good ole' fashioned Yahtzee tournament.

We played about 10 games. (that's a lot of Yahtzee for me..short attention span)

These next 2 pictures are from games where I was winning. Odd that I only took pictures of these? Nahhh girl.

Things to know about.

1. I am not good at math. Yes, I somehow made it through college, many tutor sessions later, but I also developed a "fluster", as I like to call it, when I have to do math on the spot in front of someone. I just get sweaty and the walls start to close in on me. (deep, deep rooted math issues here. years of therapy awaiting me.)
Andrew is working on not calling me his 5 year old nieces name when I don't blurt out the sum of 6+3+5+1+6 .....(brainnn poweerrrrr.....mmmm..21?)

pain. emotion. embarrassment. somehow I get through.

2. Who uses the cup? I think it's unneccessary and would probably make fun of you to your face if you played with a cup in my tournamnt. And I can do that because sh%# talkin' is fair game in my professional Yahtzee tournament.

3. This was "Amazing fruit punch, Valerie. No really, taste it. Ohhhh. This is so good." I don't know why I found it so funy, but I did. Maybe you had to be there.

4. Crappy coffee table shelf full o'stuff I need to organize.


We brought out the CORNBREAD and homemade HONEY BUTTER. (whattttt? yes, we did.)

I popped open a bottle of gingerale and things got all loosey goosey.

(gross. Who wants to bet we dropped this knife on the floor and continued to eat off it?)

but in the last rounds....I started to get tired. And my attention span was on a rapid decline......

We ended up tying in a sudden death face off on Sunday afternoon.

Until next time......

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