Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Visit from the Fam - Sept. '08: Part 2

Note: Blogger & Photobucket are not getting along well today, so the pics are not showing up correctly. I'll try my best to fix it.
For our second day of familial shenanigans, I took the family to Wilmington, a town on the coast about 2 hours away from where Tim and I live. It's the closest ocean beach to my house because it's a straight shot down I-40. This is also what makes it so popular & why you may not want to go there on the weekend. Seriously. The parking is unreal during the high season. Luckily for us it was September and a weekday so we were in good shape.

Dad and Ray spent most of their day on the USS North Carolina, a battleship that was active during WWII. Mom and I are not big war history buffs ("No, really?" I hear you exclaim sarcastically) so we went off on our own. We walked around the quaint area of downtown Wilmington, ate ice cream, poked about in shops, enjoyed the architecture. But deep down we all knew that there was just one reason for this day trip:
The beach.

My mother loooooooooves water. She will swim in her backyard pool every chance she gets, but nothing compares to her love of the ocean. Mom loves hanging out on the beach. She loves the whole sun, surf, and sand combo.

Mom says that someday she wants to rent a house on NC's coast for a month just so she can enjoy the beach. She says she doesn't even care if we visit while she's there. She just wants to feel the ocean breeze on her face, the warm sand between her toes, the roar of the waves in her ears, etc. etc. etc.

We wanted to eat dinner right on the beach. Luckily, we found a friendly local who recommended The Oceanic Restaurant. The food was nice, but not too fancy. They had Mom's major requirement (fish and sweet tea) and mine (hush puppies!) so we were happy. We got a nice table on the pier. Here's my view.

There were a handful of surfers out that evening.

... including one surfer who used an oar. Have you ever seen that before? I hadn't.

There was even a fisherman. Wonder if he caught anything.

Here's Ray on the restaurant's pier watching the activity below.

Sunset. Just about time to go home.

Just before the sunlight was gone, we noticed a rainbow.

What a lovely way to end a lovely day with some lovely people.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Visit from the Fam - Sept '08: part 1

So this weekend I was sitting around the house, listening to NPR for hours like I normally do, when I heard that this week's episode of "A Prairie Home Companion" was broadcasting live from Tulsa! EEEE!!! How could I miss that, you know? So of course, I tuned in and I pictured Garrison Keillor standing up on that familiar stage and wondered how many of my friends and acquaintances were in the audience. And I thought about the numerous shows I've seen in that building and the many many more performances and rehearsals I've taken part in myself.

Sigh. I miss Tulsa a lot. I miss that old familiarity. I miss the theater companies there. I especially miss the people. My friends. My family.

All of this wistful longing to be with loved ones reminded me that I have yet to post photos from September when my parents and my brother, Ray, came to visit! Shameful! So this week, I'm going to share some of the best shots with you from their visit.

Unfortunately, I did not take any photos on their first big day here. We walked around Duke University, where we saw beautiful flowers, the gorgeous chapel/cathedral, and spied way too many expensive cars ($100K and up! Those Duke kids ain't broke). We also stopped by Hillsborough & drove out to Maple View Farms where we ate ice cream while watching the cows in the distance. But possibly the most transformational moment of the trip occurred at Allen & Sons Barbecue where we ate Eastern Carolina style BBQ for the first time. It was at this venerable institution that Ray made a profound and shocking discovery: Ray prefers this vinegar-based shredded pork BBQ over the Texas & Oklahoma style Q that he has been eating all of his life. Astounding. If the wrong Okies find out about this, he may be kicked out of the state, so keep that news under your hats.

Anyway. No photos of that stuff, gosh darn it! But there are plenty of other photos to share. I hope to begin posting them later today. Just let me finish wrestling with Frankenputer. This may take a while ...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Busy bee

Hey, gang. It's been a busy week, hence the lack of posting. Also, I decided to take a wee break from the internets. I'll be back soon. In the meanwhile, the website for Keepsake Kaleidoscopes is finally up and running! Check it out! Gaze in awe and wonder at my mother's miraculous talents! You'll be glad you did. As a bonus, by checking out her site, my mom's presence on Google will scoot up the list a tad. Maybe someday when you do a search for her website, you'll actually find a link to her site! As it is, when you search for her business on Google, you're more likely to find this blog. That ain't right. We want to bury this blog, don't we? Of course we do! So click on the following link!



Friday, October 03, 2008

V&T's Wedding Weekend: the 4th & final chapter!

Hey, gang. Sorry for the delay. My internet connection has been funky for the last 2 days. I think we're all fixed now.

So! Anyway! The reception was over. Next it was time for the after-after party. I love this new tradition of going to a bar with a group of friends after the reception. It's a great way to end the festivities. We descended upon Trader Vic's, a tiki bar, for our nightcaps. As you can imagine, hilarity ensued.

See that blue rose hairclip that I'm wearing? The groom made that. Yes, our Travis is a man of many talents!

Tony ordered something called a "Rum Giggle" for Holly & me to share. It came in a conch shell with the longest straws I've ever seen. I could not tell you what it tasted like, but I'm guessing it was good since we drank every last drop.

You can't see it very well, but I'm wearing a nametag that says "James". I have no earthly idea where I got that, but I remember declaring at some point that my left breast is officially named "James". Hmm. Can you believe I didn't have a hangover the next morning? Amazing!

I have no idea what Tony ordered for himself, but it was served in a SKULL! So it's gotta be bad ass, right?

Tony also made a little ... request. Just a little something he'd like to see on the ol' blog. Let me get back to you on that, Tony-Tone.

Last but not least, here's my favorite photo of the whole night.

Eventually we all finished our drinks & stumbled back to the La Quinta. George, Derek, Holly, Andy and I shared the double room "suite". I remember bits & pieces of the rest of the night. I know Holly's finger got banged up pretty badly in Andy's car door. And at some point I managed to put on my pajamas. And then Andy broke out the Mad Libs I bought at Froggies & we had a good time completing a couple (Holly, please tell me you now know what a "taint" is because, honey, I don't want to try to explain that to you again). Surrounded by ice packs & shreds of paper, we eventually fell into a deep slumber.

I was the first one to wake up in the morning, but that's just my way. I can't sleep in. It's one of my least favorite qualities about myself. It's not all bad, though. As the old saying goes, the early bird gets the waffle.

Why do they call it "table syrup"? Is it made out of tables?

Andy and I had flights in the afternoon & the Tulsa contingent had to hit the road, so before we all went our separate ways we went out for Ethiopian food. As usual, george ordered for everybody. Someday I need to learn to order Ethiopian food for myself. What's the name of that lamb stuff again? 'Cause, man alive, it's tasty!

I think we're supposed to be acting like beauty pageant contestants in this photo. Or perhaps like we're on America's Next Top Model. Smile with your eyes, ladies!

Time for one final shot ...

Then we all hugged & said our good-byes.

I have to admit that usually it's very painful for me to leave my old urban family & fly back to NC. I miss them all so very much. This time felt different, though. As I left Dallas, all I felt was joy. I can thank Veronica and Travis for that. Nothing fills a heart with hope and love like a wedding ceremony.

Thank you ALL for such a wonderful, memorable weekend. Can't wait to see you again!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

V&T's Wedding Weekend: Part 3

The ceremony was short & sweet. Before we knew it, Veronica & Travis were hitched!

Mr. & Mrs. Day, accompanied by various cohorts (aka the wedding party)

The best man knows his way around a bustle. Heh heh.

I missed taking photos of the first dance because my hands were full of iced tea and fried pies. Just trust me when I say that this couple has some very impressive dance moves. They really know how to cut a rug!

They also know how to cut a cake.

Here is the best man, Andy (not that one, a different one), making a heartfelt toast. He is accompanied by our Holly, bridesmaid and luscious eye candy.

Here's the Tulsa branch of our urban family. There were 10 of us in all: George & Derek, Ed & Rhiannon, Jenny & Tony, Andy (yes, that one), Kris, Holly, & little ol' me. How great was it to see them all? Very very great.

Andy even brought Kit Kat's for all of us. Gotta love those old inside jokes.

We also made new friends! First, there is V's other bridesmaid, the fabulous Cat. It's hard to tell in this photo, but she was 9 months pregnant & already feeling some contractions. She gave birth to a little girl named Moxy less than 48 hours after the wedding ceremony.

And then there's Eddie, with whom we developed an all new inside joke involving Chick-o-sticks.

Kit Kats and Chick-o-Stick. What more could we possibly need?

English Country Dancing?!??! Why not?

So here's the story. The reception venue upstairs was packed. All of the tables were full and there were few chairs to be had, so most of the Tulsa bunch went downstairs to hang out in the bar. That's when I noticed the sign above. It pointed towards a room with a glass window in the door. When the dancers saw some of us peeking in, they invited us to join them! I was thrilled because, frankly, I've been thinking about trying out English Country Dancing for many months now. You know the formal dancing that is always featured in those Jane Austen costume drama films? That's what this is. It's complicated, but very fun.

Many thanks to Peter, my partner in the grey shirt. Without his patient guidance, I would have been lost.

Since I had so much fun, George decided to try it out, too.

This group was so nice! They invited us to stay & keep dancing with them, but we had to get back to the reception. If I lived in Dallas I'd definitely look them up. They were really great.

The reception continued. We drank more wine & beer, ate more cake, listened to more live music, and laughed much. Tim called so that he could congratulate "The V-Dog". We watched V's parents perform some amazing moves on the dance floor (now I see where she gets it!). As V&T left the building, we didn't have any rice to throw, so instead we performed the wave. Or at least we tried to perform the wave, but ... well ... did I mention there was free booze? Yeah.

The party wasn't over, though. Next stop: Trader Vic's!