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Happy Birthday to Reed!


We sang Happy Birthday to him yesterday, so Reed has had an extended birthday celebration. This afternoon I made his birthday cake–yellow cake with white icing. Cakes are a challenge for me, and the icing didn’t quite set up the way I had hoped. But Reed said it was tasty and enjoyed it.

He will have pictures up on his blog later, and I will add a link then.

Thanksgiving 2008


Wow. That’s all I can say about this Thanksgiving. Our first Thanksgiving with a full turkey. Our first Thanksgiving as hosts. A fun visit with family. As always, we missed being with our family members who were celebrating elsewhere, but we did get some calls from them during the day.

My parents and brother came up on Wednesday and stayed until this morning. We loved having them! (Ok, I can’t speak for Precious the scaredy cat.) Although I put them to work the very first minute they walked in the door, since I was in the middle of making a tapioca pudding that required constant stirring for about 40 minutes! Oops. It was great to have helpers in the kitchen, especially with the dishes!

On Thanksgiving, we had a whole roasted turkey, cornbread dressing, pan gravy, cranberry sauce, wild/brown rice medley, collard greens, sweet potato casserole, whole wheat rolls, and green beans. For dessert, we had caramel cake (thanks to my family), pecan tart, and tapioca pudding with orange slices. It wasn’t half bad!

After our lunch, we started our adventuring! We went to the sculpture garden at the North Carolina Museum of Art and walked about a mile and a half. I was so glad that the one thing I wanted to be sure to see was open–the Cloud Chamber. It is a little building that is built to be a camera obscura. Once you go inside and close the door, you sit in the darkness until your eyes adjust. Then, because of the small hole in the roof, you can see the shadows of the woods around you on the walls and floor. It is pretty amazing.

On Friday, we planted some pansies in the pots outside and some onions that they brought from my grandmother’s house. Now we’ll have a supply of spring onions for whenever we want! I can’t wait until they start growing. I’ll try to take a picture of them when it is light outside again.

In the afternoon, we went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It was very interesting to learn more about Essenes and ancient history, as well as how the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and studied. We had a chance to see some of the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were discovered in 1952. It was fascinating to see manuscripts of something that is still read so many years later, across cultures and languages. At the end, there were a few rare manuscripts of ancient Bibles and one that is not ancient, the Moser Bible that is a modern illustrated bible. (Moser is the name of the illustrator.)

We also sang Happy Birthday to Reed, since today he is 30! We had such a good time visiting with them, and I am glad that we will be able to see them again next month! I should have a post up soon about Reed’s birthday cake, but it isn’t done yet.

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all the friends and family who read this blog and make it such a fun way to keep in touch.

Ho Ho Ho!


I believe the Grinch will soon make an appearance in our neighborhood in the form of the homeowner’s association! One of the townhouses in the row we live on has decorated for Christmas!

They have strung icicle lights around their front window, stoop, and somehow across the top of their second story windows. Their upstairs windows are additionally somewhat framed by colored bubble lights. A red “Merry Christmas” sign is attached to their bay window. They have covered the holly bushes in lights. There are at least 3 lit figurines in front of the holly bushes. That’s all I can remember, but I am probably forgetting a few things.

Please note that our townhouse is the same width as their townhouse. Our townhouse is about …25 feet wide? There is a strip of holly bushes and grass about five feet wide, before the sidewalk, before the parking lot. Tonight was the first night that they have turned their lights on. EVERY. THING. BLINKS.

I pulled into the part that we live in after work, and found two other cars sitting, with occupants apparently stunned into park around in the parking area. Mouths agape. They might have been having seizures, I don’t know. It is a really, really, garish display.

I love it. I love how horrible it is. I hope the Grinch doesn’t come and make them take it down, because it is a splendidly awful thing. I’m going to take out the trash very slowly just so I can enjoy it some more.

ETA: I just took out the trash, and got to examine it more closely. Something plays Christmas music! The lit figurines are: a Santa, a penguin, and a snowman. There is a garland around the railings, and red and green floodlights, and a wreath on the door. There is also a garland of star shapes draped across the roof of the porch.

Well, I have been planning on making chocolate chip cookies this week, and this evening I finally got around to it. About the time I stirred the chips into the batter, I remembered why I don’t make cookies very much. You have to drop them individually onto the sheets, and then take turns in the oven. ARG.

Whatever. So I did. Put the first batch in the oven, and watched them become an illustration in the trouble-shooting tutorial for “why did this happen to my cookies?” I think the butter wasn’t cold enough, which causes excess spreading. They still taste fine, of course, they are just thin and ugly cookies and cookie fragments and giant cookies-made-of-melted-together-cookies.

Sigh. Now I don’t want to make dinner, because I am annoyed at the cookies (not me! haha). But I will–we are having dal with rice. Dal is an Indian dish made out of red lentils, coconut milk, and spices. It is sooo yummy and good on a cold night like tonight.

It snowed again this morning!! Still not sticking, but they had to close I-40 in the mountains for a bit. Brrr!! Very exciting. I don’t think it snows (real, stick to the ground snow) here any more than it did in Athens or Ellerslie, but it definitely snows more frequently. Next week, though, it looks like it will be warmer.



I looked out the window a second ago, and thought, “Is it raining?” Because it had gotten a little darker out there. It was not raining.

It was snowing!!!

For about one minute, anyway. It has stopped now. The sky is mostly bright blue, but there are big clouds in the sky and some of them look a little like snow clouds. It is cold out there, too. The high today is 43, but the weather channel says it feels like it is 34 outside. This week it will be sunny and cold.

Fall Weekend


It was beautiful this weekend, but we didn’t do a whole lot with it. Yesterday, Reed and I got out a bit in the afternoon and walked the mill pond loop at Yates Mill. It looked like there were a couple of female Buffleheads out there, so I will probably go visit more frequently to look at ducks again. I would love to drive out to Mattamuskeet NWR this fall and see all the waterfowl that are down for the winter. I didn’t get to go last year, but it’s on my to-do list for this year.

Today, I went to the NC Museum of History downtown, just to have something to do. They have a great Vietnam War photo exhibit right now, with photos that servicemen took and the story about them. I also walked through the Art Duck exhibit, which is about the history of commercial duck hunting in NC and the forces that combined to stop it. There are two rooms of hand carved decoys! The other exhibits that I browsed were the Civil Rights Era photography exhibit and the NC Governor’s exhibit. This time around, I also saw Junior Johnson’s and Richard Petty’s stock cars.

Squirrel Ridge


I hereby nominate the name Squirrel Ridge as the new and more accurate name for all of the neighborhoods up the road from me. Seriously, I went for a walk this afternoon and saw a hundred squirrels in half an hour. Perhaps that is because there are so many oak and pine trees there. I finally realized on my walks that I don’t have to walk up and down the “main” road, but can also walk around in the neighborhoods near us.

It is really nice to walk through them because they have lots of big, old trees. The little townhouse/apartment/starter houses in the newer area where I live does not have very many big trees. But the older neighborhoods look like they were built in the 60’s and 70’s.

Happy Election Day!


If you haven’t already, get out and vote! Here in Raleigh, it is a slightly rainy and cool election day. The fall colors seem to have peaked over the weekend, so they are shining through the drizzle. It is really a beautiful day. We voted during early voting, so we are good to go, but our local polling station (the fire station) did not look overwhelmingly busy. There were lots of cars along the side of the road (the fire station does not have parking), but there wasn’t a line outside of the building.

This weekend the weather was absolutely gorgeous! I was lucky to get outside on both days, and spend some time in the woods.

On Saturday, J and I met up at Umstead state park and hiked the Sal’s Branch Trail. It is really great to have such a large park close by. It was a lovely trek through the woods and then down to the lake. You can see it was a clear, beautiful day!

Then on Sunday afternoon, Reed and I went over to Yates Mill and walked around the pond and up the High Ridge trail. In some areas, the whole understory was golden, as the sunlight came through the hickory leaves. I love the light when it is like that. I tried to take a picture of one of the hickory trees, but this is what I got.

They were actually having a mill tour that day, but Reed and I were too cheap to pay $10 to take the tour. I figured I have watched the movie for free, so I’m set. It was fun to see the water wheel working, though!

If you follow my facebook page, you’ll know that Reed and I waited to turn our heat on until November 1. Well, since then, I don’t think the heat has come on at all! So, we froze the last part of October, only to be nice and warm here in November.

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