Wednesday, March 2, 2022

February 2022- Birthday and Hot Chocolate

February 1 – 14, 2022                                                    Most Recent Posts:
STILL stuck in Charlottesville.       January 2022: It’s All About the Weather
                                                               December 2021 & Happy 2022 Hopefully

First and most importantly February is


We couldn’t get together but we did Facetime when she opened her presents from me.  These are terrible pictures of my screen but they are all I have of her in the fuzzy zip up I gave her which is a light purple though you never know it in the picture.

The other gift was a photo book I made with pictures our visit to her house for her son Colin’s first Christmas and her father’s last.

My baby is 42.  Unbelievable.  NOT POSSIBLE!   She sure doesn’t look it.


Since I could not bake THE family birthday cake and eat it all myself (well I could but I shouldn’t) I baked chocolate chip cookies in her honor and did eat them all myself.  Half of them right off the tray as the evidence shows.


February is also HOT CHOCOLATE month!! 

About Darden - Life in Charlottesville | UVA Darden School of Business

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t find that out until 3 weeks of it were over. I immediately headed for Mariebette for Dark Cherry Hot Chocolate and asked if there was any way pretty pretty please that I could get some of the flavors from the first week of the month. 

No I was told by the girl in the scarf.  They are only made once a year.  But they will be back next year. 

OH WOE IS ME!  I hope I won’t be here next year in January or February. 

So I determined to have hot chocolate at least 3 times during what was left of the month.  Some of the flavors don’t really appeal to me.

Here’s the schedule of flavors.  Hope you can read it.  Oh my salted carmel!  And I’ll take February 1-4 please.

I did go  for Dark Cherry the day after I found out that February is Hot Chocolate Month.

I LOVE to sit and read with a cup of hot chocolate.  The Dark Cherry was fabulous.  It even had a montmorency cherry in the bottom.  At one time, the farm had 2 montmorency cherry trees.  THE ultimate pie cherry and the source of cherries for David’s reknown and not to surpassed cherry pie.  But I digress…..  at $6.12 for a large which was “maybe” 12 oz, I’ll have to limit myself. 

I returned on the next Saturday for Raspberry with my mouth watering.  I have no idea what happened but this chocolate, which I didn’t try until I got it back to my house and my book since they have no indoor dining, only outdoor and it was in the 40’s, was thin watery and tasted neither like chocolate or raspberries.  I was SO disappointed.   Still I soldiered on and came back on the very last day of the month for White Chocolate Pistachio which was very good.  Not as good as Dark Cherry but WAY better than Raspberry.

Technically this post is about the first half of February but well, hot chocolate month was all of February.

Back to the first half of the month which unfortunately much of is still winter as these pictures of frost on the plants and snow coming down attest.  Nature is beautiful in all her dresses but the cold temperatures keep me inside and not doing a daily walk on many days.  This is just not good for me and makes me grumpy.




20220208_082757On the days I spend inside, I pamper myself with my favorite indoor activity – READING with hot chocolate!

Here is where I hang out in my comfy chair, with an afghan made by my mother, the sun streaming in the window and a cup of my favorite hot chocolate, after Mariebettes Dark cherry, in my cup. 

The book I set down in the chair to take this picture is the one Laurie and I discussed this month in our book club.  It was excellent, a great story beautifully written.  The Round House by Louise Erdrich won the National Book Award and it was well deserved.  It’s also the book in the Mariebette picture above.


Land O’Lakes Vanilla hot chocolate is my make it yourself preference.  I try very hard not to have it every day.  WAY too many calories, WAY too much sodium and WAY WAY too much sugar and even too much fat for one cup of it.   No wonder it tastes so fantastic.

The temperatures do start to at least vacillate as in one day the high is 35 and the low 23 and 3 days later the high is 69 and the low 48.  Oh that 69!   This must be very confusing to the plants.  I know it is to me. 


On the 10th I saw these snowdrops which hopefully indicated spring was actually coming.  I was so excited

Thus encouraged, the next day  I took a hike out to Ivy Creek Natural Area where I found the creek frozen.


.Nothing was blooming, everything was leafless, the river was icy, the ground on the other side still had snow.  Don’t get your hopes up in the first half of February is the lesson.


It’s been a long time since I’ve done a winter in Virginia.


But still, it was great to be outside hiking even in the 50’s before heading back to rain and snow tomorrow.

The beavers have been around recently despite the chicken wire put up to protect the trees.

The geese and ducks have managed to find some open water to hang out in together.


I enjoy the beech toes and the lichen art.



Another non rainy, non snowy, reasonably temperatured day found me walking over to UVA gardens in hopes of some flowers.

There wasn’t much.  Some flowers had clearly tried to come up but been wilted out or frozen by the weather.  So when I saw these, one in each of 3 of the 6 gardens, I was surprised.  They brought a smile to my face.  Any signs of spring are so welcome.  I’m beginning to feel desperate.



The serpentine walls and gates of the gardens have withstood whatever the weather for over 200 years.


20220212_135735As has the University’s famous Rotunda.

  Today, I come upon it from the side and though I saw it almost daily for the 25 years I worked at the university,
the beauty of its design never fails to move me with awe and admiration for its designer.  There are things not to admire about Mr. Jefferson,  but his beautiful home Monticello and this Academical Village both of which he designed are not among them.



Walking through the columns above I see some first signs of spring near the rotunda.  They are like little buds of hope.


Although most of the historic statues in this town, made infamous by the 2017 Unite the Right rally, have been removed.  This statue of Jefferson, the University’s founder currently remains.  I’ll leave the decision of whether either of these is good or bad to you.


20220212_141538Another walk I do often is to my favorite place in town, the Gordon Avenue Library.  With all this time on my hand, cold temperatures and wet trails, I’m doing a lot of reading.  I’ve always been an avid  reader and library user since I was first able to sign my name to get a card.

Seeing what seems like a carpet of snow drops again makes me hope we are finished with snow.



But no, the very next day, it snowed again.  Way to bust my bubble.

It’s difficult to take a picture of snow falling.  This was my attempt.

This snow certainly didn’t  match what we had in January when shoveling the heavy snow for too many hours to free Ruby hurt my back and the pain remains.  Lower back yoga poses help but don’t eliminate it.  An appointment with the chiropractor is on my list.

This is what I looked like Valentine’s Day this year

February 14 walk.

Here’s where I was on Valentine’s Day last year, the Silver River in Florida  SIGH!


Hope you had

                                         How to pamper yourself this Valentine's Day
                                                                                           a Happy One!


  1. Now the flowers are blooming and it's getting pretty again. Hail spring.

  2. How is I didn't know about Hot Chocolate month? You need to remind us next year please. Too bad you couldn't actually be there to celebrate but thankfully there are other ways to at least chat. I'd say maybe next year, but I know you hope not to be in the area. Bummer about loosing all those hard to get reservations. Yet I think you've survived the winter and can see Spring on the horizon. Yea! Did you ever get a window for Winona so you can travel this summer?

    1. I keep holding off on the window update hoping that I can report they are all fixed. Not yet, 6 months in 3 days. SIGH

  3. I share your excitement about spring! Every year I am just as happy about it as I was in the past. Love your picture of the little frozen plants at Ivy Creek and Also the geese and the pair of ducks in the middle- "one of these things is not like the other."

    1. Thanks Pam. I love ducks comment. So funny. Once a great preschool teacher, always a preschool teacher.

  4. How very cool to have a different hot chocolate every day of February. Too bad you weren't informed in advance!
    Our spring is coming here in California. We had a cold snap which made my bird bath an ice skating rink. My Mom's daffodils are just now blooming!

    1. I really was disappointed to have missed that first hot chocolate week. Even though I lived in California YEARS ago, somehow I never think of it as having winter or freezing anything.

  5. Oh, Sherry, I am so sorry you haven't been able to go to Florida. Ugh!!! I love looking at your C'ville pictures though. It is difficult to take a bad picture on Grounds. Hang in there!

    1. Would love to go to Bizou with you again Pam. Thanks for the comment.

  6. I haven't seen flowers in Maryland yet, but little buds are present on the trees. It's going to happen, but this winter has seemed long and cold! Love your reading corner! I like MarieBette. Too bad that Raspberry hot chocolate was so disappointing. Lovely pictures at Ivy Creek and UVA. See you Monday! ❤️

    1. I agree that winter has seemed very very long and very cold and very snowy. Can't wait to see you!

  7. Dave, Duke and I are thourely enjoying Georgia! Yesterday we toured Jekyll Island and I wondered if you have been there? Driftwood Beach is a live oak graveyard, Google it if you have never seen it! I enjoyed "The Lincoln Highway" very much, now I am on to "Hell of a Book" different sort of read about race relations. Keep reading, enjoy spring!

    1. Lynn, how wonderful to hear from you. I have been to Jekyll. David and I went there early on in our courtship but Hunting Island State Park was our favorite in South Carolina. Thanks so much for the book recommendations. Have you read Caste or The Warmth of Other Suns both by Louise Wilkerson. Fantastic!

  8. Your ritual of reading and drinking hot chocolate sounds so cozy. I'm glad you're finding ways to nurture yourself during your long winter. Those signs of spring are so hopeful...I hope spring really is just around the corner for you! I clearly remember being very tired of winter in Oregon, especially when it dragged out into April. Enjoy those sweet ephemeral spring blooms!

    1. Books and hot chocolate go together though I try not to drink it every day given the fat and sugar. I am so very tired of winter. That was a big reason we bought an RV. Enough winter and enough sweltering summer.

  9. Another thing we have in common, I too have a 42 year old baby daughter.

    With all those exotic hot chocolate flavors, you'd think they would have had Jamaica-Me-Crazy as one of them. They missed out! :cD

    1. You are so right Paul. Jamaica-me-crazy hot chocolate would have fabulous!!

  10. At least you have some fun and interesting places to walk around town, although in that weather I would be sipping chocolate and reading. Might take a LOT to get me outdoors. I think we both dislike the cold a LOT. Even here on the west side of the Cascades, winter is still winter, just without the snow, and it can get very tiresome and cold. At least we don't have to shovel, but other than that, it is still winter.

    1. Tiresome is the perfect word. I have found that the temperature at which I am willing to go outside to get some exercise has steadily dropped as I've been trapped here. I get so sun deprived inside.

  11. I enjoy your blog posts. Speaking of Cat Crimes, My daughter lives next door to me and she has a young cat named Windy that plays in the woods around my house. The other day, I opened my front door to go out to fill the bird bath. There were terrible squirrel barks and screams coming from the big pine tree. Windy had two gray squirrels treed about 60 ft up. The tree stands along so they couldn't jump to another tree. Windy had the squirrels blocked off. I told Windy to come down, but as she did the squirrels started down so Windy kept running them back up. She was having a wonderful time terrorizing the squirrel neighborhood. Today is Spring. Sam in the Ozarks


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