Thursday, November 10, 2011

My new favorite hang out...

There have been some pretty exciting goings-on around this old town lately.  We've got a Whole Foods coming! There are rumors of a Trader Joe's as well, but TJ's still doesn't show us on their website, so that remains a rumor at this point.  But while we wait for that we have a new store, right here in my 'hood.  They specialize in locally grown/produced foods, including locally caught seafood, and locally produced eggs, poultry and meat, as well as organic, vegetarian, and vegan foods.  They have a deli and a bakery, too.  It's locally owned and smaller than the big chain stores.  Sometimes that means higher prices, but in this case, because most everything they buy and sell is local, many times their prices on produce are lower than the chain grocery stores.  It opened about 2 months ago and so far it's been wildly popular and has become something of a neighborhood hangout. Love that.  And the best part's about 4 blocks away, so I can ride my bike to get groceries.  Something I've always wanted to do, but with the closest grocery store about 5 or 6 miles down the busiest street in town (the one without bike lanes!), I've never been able to do that before.  It is so much fun to go to the grocery store now!
Nothing fancy, just fresh local stuff.

Just like I get at the Farmer's Market.

Apples from the mountains of NC!

Did I mention they have a bakery?

And home-made Gelato?

Locally brewed beer.  They also have coffee, that while it's not locally grown, it is from a local roaster that uses organic, fair trade beans.  My favorite kind.
Mmmmm...local honey.

Don't look Janet!

While I don't personally eat Blue Crabs, they're pretty popular around here.

So, while you may not think a new grocery store is big news in your neck of the woods we are thrilled with our new neighbors!

More interesting stuff coming up, but I can't tell anyone just yet! (and no, I'm not having a baby :))

Monday, October 31, 2011


I know I won't have time to post today for Jane's (Small But Charming) Flower Party, so I posted this last night:

Just a few Mums and Daisies from the backyard, along with some Sweet Potato Vine, that I picked on Saturday morning for the breakfast table.

And then there's this...a gratuitous photo of Jack:

Nope, blindness doesn't stop him much.  He can still find his way to food every time!
Have a great Halloween y'all!  I am so looking forward to giving out candy to the kids tonight!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time flies, whether you're having fun or not.

I remember my grandmother saying that. And truer words were never spoken.

I've been pretty busy. And lucky.  Very, very lucky. Oh, and blessed. Honored beyond belief. Let me back up.  I have a very, very beautiful and wonderful friend who has been my dear friend for 20 years.  We both have two daughters - her oldest and my youngest are the same age and went to school together through 5th grade and were friends, too.  They went to different schools after that, but remained friends. And Susan and I became stronger friends as the years went by.  I've always said two things about her: one was that if I should ever end up in heaven (highly unlikely!) it would be because she went first and told everybody to let me in, and the other is that, while I'm not big into "soulmates", I do think if there is such a thing, she is mine.  One of the things she and I used to talk about was taking our girls on a never-to-be-forgotten, once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris, but it was just a fantasy.  Last year her father died after a long, productive and mostly happy life.  Susan had always been close to her Dad, and she misses him terribly. I miss him.  He was a good man.  On the first anniversary of his death I received a card from Susan, in the mail, and in the card was a check.  I still cry thinking about it, but she said that all of his life her dad, a wealthy man, had given 10% of his earnings to someone or something he believed in, and she said she decided, when she started getting her inheritance, that she would do the same thing.  So she sent me the money to take my girls to Paris, because she believed in me.  Yep, I cried.  I still cry every time I think of that. Can't begin to imagine what I did to deserve her in my life, but I am so happy she is.

So, we went to Paris! We got an apartment in the heart of Paris, in the Marais district.  We saw the Tour de Eiffel, the Tulleries, Versaille, Notre Dame, everything.  Everything we could fit into 8 days.  And it was beautiful.  The funniest thing that happened? I've mentioned before that my youngest daughter has many tattoos. Many. Apparently not very many people in France have tattoos.  Certainly not the women.  So Lovey #2 was the center of attention, everywhere we went.  People would stop her in the street and grab her arm to look at them and say things in very excited French.  The day we went to the Louvre - you know, where they have all that beautiful art? - Lovey #1 and I were taking pictures of Venus de Milo.  I stopped to see where #2 was.  I noticed a big group of people in the center of the hall, all talking excitedly.  And then I see this tiny little blonde girl in the middle of the group.  It was #2, and all the other people were tourists lining up to have their pictures taken with her! In the Louvre, people!

We found a VEGAN bistro just two blocks from our apartment and ate there often!

There may be more stories of France to come, but for now I'm tired.  And there are some other stories to tell, too!  Lots of fun and exciting things going on around here.  Time does, indeed, fly, whether you're having fun or not.  I'm having fun.  Hope you are.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquakes? Hurricanes? What??

Today, at work, we were discussing this possibly impending Hurrican Irene, that is at this moment anyway, heading right for us here in Wilmington.  I mentioned that while not wishing for either one of them, if I had to endure one or the other I would prefer an earthquake.  Earthquakes - and as a former Californian, I've been through many - are relatively fast, usually over before you're quite sure that it's even an earthquake.  I realize that in many parts of the world earthquakes can be completely devastating, and I'm not making light of that, but there is something to be said for getting it over with quickly.  A hurricane - and in the 20 years I've been in NC, I've seen plenty of those, too - on the other hand, takes it sweet ass time coming around, making everyone uneasy, questioning "is it coming?" and "will it miss us?" Once it gets here it takes it's time leaving. Twelve to 24 hours later it disappears, leaving behind 20 or so inches of rain, which floods even the houses that are higher than  the flood plain (mine), trees uprooted or many branches lighter than before (and many of those have gone through someone's roof or window, or fallen on their cars), and yards a mess.  The roads are unpassable for days until the crews come and chain saw thru all the debris in the street, which stays on the side of the road, 6 or 8 feet high, for weeks.  And no power.  Usually for several days, maybe a week.  And it's incredibly hot after a hurricane, but there's no AC. I once told my sister, when she called to check and see if we were alright, that the only danger we were in was dying of boredom.

Any way - in the words of Ellen Degeneres: "my point - and I do have one!" - so I mentioned at work that I'd rather endure an earthquake than another hurricane, and guess what?  We had an earthquake!  No more than 10 minutes after I said that. Looks like we're still getting the earthquake, though.  Humph...

*The quake was centered in Virginia, so we only got a tiny little shudder.  Kind of like when a big truck goes by and makes the ground shake a little.  But to hear people in Wilmington tell it - we all almost died from the buildings falling all around us.  And they'd all still rather have a hurricane.

**I really do hope no one in VA - or anywhere else - was injured or suffered any loss from the quake today or from Irene.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You asked for it...

Someone has asked me to post pictures of two of the things I accomplished while I was unemployed, so here they are:

I painted the front door!  The minute I finished, I thought to myself "why the hell didn't I do this sooner?"  I LOVE it.  And I know why I didn't do it sooner. Because we've talked about replacing this door a million times.  But you know what?  It might be forever before we get around to doing that (we do, after all, have a "to-do" list a mile long and replacing the door was towards the bottom of the list).  So I thought why live with a door color I hate while waiting? So I changed it.  And I love it. Yay.

From the outside, obviously.  Looks so good with the light grey siding.

If I'm at home the door is usually open (there's a glass storm door), and I LOVE the way it looks on the inside, too.  Green is my favorite color and there is at least a bit of it in every room, so the door fits right in!

Oooohhh...bad photo.  Sorry! I also made some slipcovers for the living room chairs.  It's an off-white linen and I was pretty happy with how they came out.  If only the (black and tan) cat didn't like them so much!  But they're washable. 
Had a great weekend, full of bike rides, yoga classes and brunch with a dear friend I haven't seen in weeks.  I hope yours was wonderful as well.  There are a few other things I might get to next week.  My new work schedule being what it is, I'll probably only be able to post on weekends now.  Til then - have a happy week!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


*FYI - "Hey!" is how we say hello in this part of the country!

You may have noticed I've been gone for a while.  A really long while this time.  I've given some thought to just not writing a blog anymore.  I guess we all (or nearly all) think about just stopping after a while.  Honestly, what's left to say? I originally started doing this for two reasons: I found that a lot of bloggers didn't respond to my comments and someone mentioned that it was because I didn't have a blog myself.  I don't know if that's true or not, but after having a blog I always got responses, so who knows? It gave me a way to become "friends" with those bloggers whose voices and outlook I found entertaining and could relate to, and I've really enjoyed that aspect of blogging.  But mostly, I started it to enable my family, all of whom are 3,000 miles away, to see what was going on in my little corner of the world.  To be honest, after the initial few posts, I'm not sure any of them even read the blog! So...I don't know what will happen.  I do know I didn't want anyone who did read the blog to wonder "what the hell ever happened to her?"

So here's a quick update:

In my last post I mentioned that I'd lost my job.  Oddly, I really didn't worry.  From the moment it happened I knew it was just as it was supposed to be and that I would be okay.  I heard someone else describe it as a "feeling of just floating along" and I thought that's a perfect description of how I felt.  Like I was floating in a pool.  I had to exert enough energy to not flounder and drown, but I was perfectly capable of staying afloat with just a minimal amount of work. It wasn't scary.  Mostly it was pleasant and that sort of quiet you get when your ears are underwater, inside my head. Lots of friends offered help and leads and love. I spent an hour or two each day looking for work, sending out resumes, etc., and the the rest of the day was mine.  I got so much accomplished, although that wasn't even my goal.  It just happened. For maybe the first time in my life I really just went with the flow and trusted. I felt incredible. Incredibly happy, too.


And then...three weeks later, I was offered a job. Although it isn't my dream job, it will pay the bills.  It is with another movie-related company, and those are inherently tenuous.  And while I can appreciate the yogic message - everything in life is tenuous, everything changes, try not to become attached to the idea that your life will ever stay the same, etc. - I do hope to retire one day, and I'll need a bit more security in the next 10 years in order to achieve that.  Even yogis are allowed to do some basic planning for life!  I love the woman I work for and the other women I work with - we are a fun group.  I will argue with anyone who says working with, or for, another woman isn't just as, or more, enjoyable than working with, or for, a man!  This is my third job working with all women and I've always liked those jobs the best of any I've ever had. I enjoy the work I'm doing, but I'll continue to keep my eyes open and see what happens.  I stay very busy with this job, which is another reason I'm considering giving up the blog.  I might feel differently come winter, but right now, I get home from a long day at work and if I don't have a yoga class to go to,  all I want to do is go out in my garden and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to a little Lyle Lovitt (and his Large Band!) or maybe some jazz and see/smell/taste/feel all of this:

One day's harvest - 42 tomatoes.  Thank you compost!

And a gratuitous photo of Jack!  That's how his eyes actually look now that he's blind.  Freaks some people out.  He still hasn't figured out he's handicapped, though. What a love.

I haven't missed reading any of your blogs, although I have little time to comment these days.  I don't know where we'll go from here.  Maybe nowhere. Then again, in the words of Buzz Lightyear, maybe to infinity and beyond.  Hahaha...I crack myself up sometimes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

what's new?

"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster."    ~ Dalai Lama

So maybe you've been wondering where I've been? Maybe not.  Maybe you're getting used to me being gone for periods of time and don't think a thing about it?  Well.  Here I am, none the worse for wear.  It's been a long and crazy week and a half, so I'm here to update you on the goings-on around here.

I've had some time on my hands (more about that later), so we finally got this done:

The gate was done a few months ago, but we just now finished the lattice fence on each side.

Can you see the wine bottle "fence" there on the left?  We drink wine fairly regularly, but it took over a year to save up all those bottles!

The raised beds we put in for the veggie garden seem to be doing the trick - we have a stellar harvest in store for us this year:

Three tomato plants.  Right now they each have about three dozen tomatoes on them - and that doesn't include the flowers.

Swiss Chard.  Two more weeks for the first harvest, then there should be another harvest 2 months later!

Yep.  That's a baby sized zuchini right there.  I'm doing a happy dance, because this is the first year, in this house, that I've been able to get anything from my zuchini.

Peppers.  Lots of them.  Lots of different kinds.

We had a toad orgy in the pond and the first Water Lily bloom - both on the same day:

You can't see the toads in this picture and you should be happy about that.  It's pretty gross.  There are hundreds of them with  lots of 3 on 1 action, and they make a horrible racket.  I don't think the fish approve, either.

And probably most importantly, but far and away not the best thing to happen recently - I got laid off.  I guess technically I'm not laid off, because I worked freelance (under contract - therefore no unemployment - sad face), but it was completely economically driven.  The company hit a real, big bump in the road, in terms of sales, about six months ago and they haven't recovered yet.  My boss thought he'd be able to get it righted, but it will take months (maybe longer), and I can't wait that long.  Yep, it's kinda scary.  But a couple of good things have happened because of it - my friends have circled around me, filling me with love, and caring, and positive thinking.  I've always known I have these fabulous friends, but sometimes it takes something like this to remind me of just how wonderful they really are. And how lucky I am.  I got a bit of a severence package, so I have a small amount of time to find something, but it's tough out there.  Wish me luck on that, would ya?

The other good thing is I've had more time for all the things I love to do, including this:

This pose is good for self confidence.  There are times when I could definitely use more self confidence (now).

Seriously - there is nothing better than an inversion to clear your head.

So, I'm spending my mornings online, connecting with people and looking for new opportunities, then from late afternoon on I'm in the garden or on my mat in class, clearing my head.  I haven't actually looked for a job in a very long time.  Most of the jobs I've had in my lifetime have been with or through people I know.  By the way - were you all aware that 99% of jobs posted on Craigslist are scams?  I found that out quickly.

I'll keep y'all posted!

Monday, May 9, 2011

"The purpose of our lives is to be happy." ~ Dalai Lama

I trust everyone had a wonderful weekend, and for all the mom's, a beautiful Mother's Day?  This is what went down around here this weekend:

Friday Night Date Night

Dinner out at one of our favorite places, and afterwards a glass of wine and some Eric Clapton and J.J. Cale by the fire.  Perfect for chillin'.

Saturday, 7:30 am - 22nd Annual River to The Sea Bike Ride

I was a little worried when I woke up and saw all the FOG.

8:30 am and ready to take off - still foggy.

9:30 am - one hour, and 10 miles later, we made it to the beach.  No more fog!  We asked a woman nearby to get a picture of us with the tandem, but she left out the tandem.  Like my "helmet hair"?  

Shortly after that picture we started back downtown to the river, where we started.  It's a really fun ride.  We are so lucky to have a wonderful bike route that takes you safely down the 10 miles between the downtown area (the river), all the way to the beach.  As you can see from the pictures, it's a ride for everyone; kids, older people, everyone.  It's done to promote awareness of bike riders (to the car driving public), and to my delight, it gets bigger every year.

We got home in time for lunch then spent the afternoon putzing around in the garden. 

Sunday - Mother's Day:

Couldn't ask for a better day.  Not only did I get to spend time with both of my lovelies, but I actually had time to spend with each of them one on one, catching up on what's going on, what they have planned, where they're going with their lives.  The afternoon was spent walking around downtown, sharing vegan cupcakes, and lots and lots of talking.  Later, we all went out for Thai - everyone's favorite.  A perfect day.

Seriously - who could ask for more?  Thank you, girls.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

your friend beside you...

"Nothing’s better than the wind at your back, the sun in front of you and your friend beside you." – A runner’s creed (and a walker's, too!)

A few weeks ago a very dear friend of mine participated in, and completed (yay!), a half-marathon in NYC.  She asked me a few months before if I would do it with her, and I said I'd love to.  As life would have it, it turned out I wasn't able to go, for several reasons (one of them being Jack, and his health issues).  I had already spent several months training with my friend, so I was disappointed.  Well, the half-marathon is done, but we had so much fun training that we decided to continue.   After a couple of weeks off for Rose to "recover",  last weekend we were back at it.  When we last trained together we had just reached 13 miles, but after a few weeks off we thought it best to start back up with about 8 miles.  We are both over 50 now (how did that happen?!), so we do a sort of walk-run combination. More walking than running, I think.  So 8 miles takes us about an hour and 45 minutes.  Perfect amount of time to catch up on each other's news and look at and comment on some of the great houses we pass by. We are only able to spend that amount of time training on the weekend, so during the week we train separately, running/walking about 4 miles, 3 days a week.  Since we've both done that for years, I'm not sure we can really call it "training", though!

We are training with the idea that we will both be in next year's half-marathon together.  That may or may not actually happen, but either way we'll enjoy the training. And the talking.  And the house looking.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

just a few words...

"All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction." ~ Clarence Darrow (in his biography, The Story of My Life)

Apparently a slightly altered version of this is going around the internet, attributed to Mark Twain.  But from what I've read, Mr. Twain actually quoted Mr. Darrow when he said it.  Whatever - still, true words for many, I guess.  Although, honestly, I can't say I've ever wished anyone dead.  Out of my life? Yes. Definitely.  But not dead. 

I'm not saying it's wrong for anyone to feel relief or even satisfaction over another's death, or even to wish for it.  I'm just saying for me, celebrating anyone's death (even an enemy's) doesn't feel good.  While certainly not in mourning, I've made no real celebration of recent events either.  Hopefully, with the loss of one, life will be better for thousands of others.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Okay,  that's it.  Have a great day, filled with sunshine and good health!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

before and after...

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." ~ Federico Fellini


And after...

Mushrooms stuffed with Crab and Shrimp, grilled asparagus, and Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil in a White Wine Sauce. Yummy. Somewhere between these two pictures we moved inside - still not quite warm enough to eat on the patio.  Soon.  Very, very soon.

Monday, April 25, 2011

flowers in the house

It's still Monday.  Barely. but still.  I think I still made it in time for Jane's Smallbutcharming Flowers in the House Party.

One ginormous Rhododendron bloom!

Here it is on the dining room bar table.

The first Hydrangea bloom of the season.

Thanks again, Jane!

Friday, April 22, 2011

today is...


Are you doing everything you can?

my new home away from home...

Nobody here this afternoon.  Good time to take a few photos.

My desk and file cabinet.  I am the only person here who uses paper for anything.  Someone's gotta keep records.

The other side of the space.

The view out back, from the lounge area.  See the antennae looking thing on the left?  That's the bow of the USS North Carolina which is permanently docked here, and is where they shoot the 4th of July Fireworks from.  The roof of our building is going to be a major party this year.

The view out the front.  In good weather there are always lots of people out here.  Tourists, locals, dogs, street performers, etc.

I think I mentioned that my office moved upstairs.  These are pics of the new digs.  What do you think?  Keep in mind we've only been up here a few days and haven't had time for hanging artwork and tidying up.  The word on the street is that the middle of the room is being kept clear to make room for the pool table (seriously).  I forgot to take a picture of it, but there is a lounge area at the back of the room for the couch and the big screen TV.  My boss wants to be "Google East".  Yep, for real.  And no, I don't mind.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The one good thing about being sick?  I feel so damn good when it's over.  Being sick makes me remember that without our good health we don't have much, and it makes me so grateful for my normally healthy body.   I still have some sniffles, and to be on the safe side I took some Sudafed this morning, even though I didn't feel terrible. And I skipped the gym this morning for one more day (it's scary how easily I  could get used to this skipping the gym thing - especially when it is so beautiful walking around the garden with my coffee at 8 am!).  But, for the most part I feel excellent! is good. 

As you might expect, I haven't done much lately, but Mother Nature didn't stop.

The Irises are beyond beautiful.

This beautiful climbing rose is one that I never even knew existed until I started cleaning up the gardens last summer.  It has rewarded me with dozens of blooms so far this year!

What can I say?

Before I started feeling puny I did get around to cleaning up the front yard.  I trimmed all the liriope back and now the sidewalk looks twice as wide.  Not sure if you can see it in the picture, but the Lady Banks Rose is blooming on the arbor. The Jasmine won't be far behind and the fragrance will be unbelievable.

Also went to opening day for the Farmer's Market and found a new bakery.  This Foccacia was SO good!  And the fresh strawberries (in salad) were sweet and beautiful.  I noticed there were several new egg suppliers.  They all had pictures of their hens, and the coops and yards where they kept them.  I always like to see where my eggs come from.

While I've been lying low with this cold/allergy/whatever thing, my office has been moving.  We moved just one flight up where where we were in this historic old building in downtown Wilmington.  I'm getting pictures of the new space now and hope to have them up tomorrow.  Speaking of tomorrow - I'm hoping I'll be back on my bike to get to work tomorrow.  Haven't felt up to it for several days now, but with gas prices going up daily, I'm thinking I better get back on it!