Wednesday, May 26, 2010

B.Sed in the 'Burg

My trip to Williamsburg was all I could ever want and more. Beth and her parents, who will collectively be known here on out as B.Sed (Beth, Sue and Ed), were wonderful hosts and I immediately felt like the extra daughter Sed didn't know they had.

My drive in on Sunday was easy and relaxing. Virginia, it welcomes me! Except I snapped too early and the sign is too far away for you to see that it says "Virginia welcomes you". (Note to self: Driving 78 mph and trying to simultaneously take photo does not produce best results. Also, could die in fiery crash. Noted.)

My iPhone map had me get off the highway at this small little town and I thought for sure it was screwing with me. Soon though, I realized it was taking me directly east and directly towards Williamsburg via the Virginia Byway (rather than staying on major highways and going north, past it, and then backtracking southeast). And lucky me, what a beautiful drive it was. Past huge plantations and sparkling rivers and beautiful farmland and LOADS of historic sites....

I am not messing around when I say LOADS of historic sites. They were everywhere I looked. A few Revolutionary and Civil War markers...

And even a couple of spectacular bridges. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love a good bridge.

(I recently thought about why this is and I think I've figured it out. When I was but knee-high to a grasshopper, my daddy used to make a big deal about going over bridges in the car. We had some good 'uns round those parts actually. But my favorite one of all was the one we would pass over every year on our way to the beach. It was the drawbridge in Wilmington and it was awesome. I even got to see it drawn up for a boat to pass once. Plus, I knew that when we hit that bridge it meant we were almost to the beach.)

So I was particularly excited to come across this beauty of a drawbridge. And since there were no cars anywhere around me, I slowed to a crawl and snapped a couple of pics.

When I finally arrived at Sed's lovely home, they put out a feast of cheese and crackers and prosecco and we watched hockey and baseball and Army Wives and basically, I was in hog heaven. And so it went for the next couple of days...

On Monday it POURED down rain the entire day so Beth and I acted like a couple of angsty teens and hung out in our pj's all day, then piled down with blankets in the living room and watched Twilight and New Moon back-to-back while Mama Sue cooked up a chicken parm in the kitchen. Periodically, she would come in and ask us if we were really sure we didn't want any lights on. Beth's answer was always the same: "Mo-om, it's a vampire movie. It's better with the lights out. Gah." We were a joy. As angsty teens so often are.

By Tuesday, the weather had improved markedly...from raining cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals to merely overcast with scattered drizzle. So we decided we might just leave the house. But not before Beth's dad brought home BBQ sammiches for our lunch. (And I must say, as an expert on Carolina BBQ, I was somewhat skeptical of this so-called Virginia BBQ. But all it took was one bite to convince me. I'm Heather Sanger and I approve this BBQ.)

And lo, we did leave the house. Twice! First, Beth and I went to the cinema to see Letters to Juliet and later, B.Sed introduced me to the best burrito I've ever had the pleasure of eating. Muy bueno!

Before I knew it, Wednesday had come and it was time for me to leave B.Sed behind and continue on my journey. Charlotte was calling my name. However, do you know what lies on the highway between Williamsburg and Charlotte? My alma mater.

But more importantly, do you know what sits on the grounds of my alma mater? A Greensboro institution. Yum-Yum. The last time Jason and I passed through here during opening hours was October 2008. I was long overdue for a hotdog (or two). So even though I had eaten about a pound of watermelon (which was lovingly cut up for me by Mama Sue) on the road and it was nowhere near lunch time, I rocked myself up to the counter and ordered "two all the way, no slaw". That's Carolinas hotdog speak for chili, mustard and onions. And that, friends, is how I put on my freshman fifteen (or twenty).

As an aside, why did everyone on campus look about 14 years old? Evidently, I'm officially old. It was news to me.

I want to prepare you now. For in my next post, you will see the two cutest dancers in the entire world. I mean it. IN THE WORLD. The Nieces with the Pieces rocked their respective recitals. So, really people. Prepare yourselves. I can't be held responsible for what may happen if the cuteness catches you by surprise.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Precious

I'm now in the middle of my two week travel adventure (which I will discuss in great detail very soon). If you consult your handy guide below, you 'll see that means I'm in Philadelphia.

I did several loads of laundry and packed in a haze yesterday after we got back from Charlotte. We woke up Very Early this morning for a 7:15 flight. I was sort of going through the motions on the way out the door. Wallet...check. ID...check. I was quietly eating my granola bar in the passenger seat of the car. And then I was gripped by pure terror.

As we were approaching the airport exit on the highway, my hands flew up to my face and I yelled "Oh my God!!!!! My iPhooooooooooone!!!!!" To put it mildly, I freaked the eff out. A string of expletives tumbled from my mouth. Jason tried to calm me down and told me there was an iota of a chance that he had picked up my phone and put it in his work bag. Yeah, right. Fat chance. So I quickly started thinking about solutions. I had decided I would call the apartment office, ask them to go in and retrieve The Precious and Fed-Ex it to me at our hotel in Philly. Overnight. Sooner if possible. DO IT NOW PLEASE.

And then...

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles. We parked and Jason went to the back to get our luggage. I hear a "pssst" and when I turn in his direction, he's holding up two iPhones. Saying nothing, I just run to him and throw my arms around his neck. My hero! My knight in shining armor! And, finally, the panic in me subsides and I feel whole again.

As we're walking to the terminal I say "I think maybe I have a slight over-dependance on technology."

You can file that under N for "NO SHIZ".

I'm ready for my Under Statement of the Year award now. Thanks.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Simple

I am about to embark on a two-week epic adventure. And, as is the way with most travel in my life, it kind of...just...sort of...happened.

It started innocently enough a couple of months ago when I decided to take Katie to see Wicked for her birthday. I bought us a couple of Thursday matinee tickets for the show in Charlotte and made plans with Amy to pick Katie up from school a little early. I would spend the night in Charlotte and head back to Raleigh. Simple.

Then we realized this was the Thursday prior to the weekend of Katie and Anna's dance recitals. Okay. No problem. No point in driving all the way back to Raleigh only to turn around and drive right back to Charlotte the next day. I'll stay and Jason can ride to Charlotte with his mom or sister so we'll only have one car there. Drive back together on Sunday. Simple.

Then, one day I get to emailing with Beth M. Before I knew it, we made plans for me to come see her while she was in the States for a month of visiting her family. The best time for her turned out to be the days prior to my trip to Charlotte. This worked well for me too since Jason had since planned a two-week business trip to Brussels and London and I would be ready for a distraction from living alone. So, the plan was set.

Over the course of exactly one week, I would drive about 3.5 hours from Raleigh to Williamsburg and then about 5.5 hours from Williamsburg to Charlotte then about 3 hours (with Jason) from Charlotte back to Raleigh. Simple.

And now, let's go back in time slightly. My other Beth, Beth N., and I have had a date planned since 2008. That May, I visited Beth all the way from London so we could go see the Sex and the City movie in New York the day it was released. We agreed right then and there, that no matter what, we would meet in NYC again if there was a second movie. So, we've been discussing these plans very abstractly in the past few months.

Then about a week ago, Jason mentioned that he had to make yet another business trip RIGHT AFTER HIS TWO-WEEK TRIP TO EUROPE. (Cut to me losing my mind and yelling something about "This SUCKS! I HATE your job! HATE it! This is no way to LIVE!") After I calmed down Jason let me know that this one was only to Philadelphia and why didn't I join him? "Well, okay. I guess that would be fine." (I don't give up my sulking easily.) Then, the dates started to come together in my head and I realized this was the week prior to the SATC2 release. I felt a plan coming together.

So, Jason and I will drive back from Charlotte on Sunday and then turn around and fly to Philly on Monday morning. On Thursday Jason will fly back to Raleigh and I'll take a train from Philly to Connecticut, where Beth will pick me up and take me to their house. On Saturday, we will train into NYC to hang out, see the movie and spend the night in a lovely hotel. On Sunday, we will train back to Connecticut and spend the next few days enjoying each other's company. On Tuesday, I will fly back to Raleigh. Simple.

Let's recap:

Sunday - Raleigh to Williamsburg
Wednesday - Williamsburg to Charlotte
Sunday - Charlotte to Raleigh
Monday - Raleigh to Philadelphia
Thursday - Philadelphia to Connecticut
Saturday - Connecticut to New York
Sunday - New York to Connecticut
Tuesday - Connecticut to Raleigh

Simple.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

That's my niece

I have an Anna story that's too good to not share. Some time ago I got an email from my sister-in-law Amy:

I took Anna to Nordstrom yesterday to get some new Crocs for the spring and we wandered over to look at the sandals and she proceeded to try on every shoe on the display. There was a particular sandal that caught her attention and now she insists on having it and won’t let it go; to the point where she is willing to cough up some of her own money to get them and is not willing to go with my suggestion to find a cheaper alternative at Target. Can you imagine? Michael Kors at 4 YEARS OLD. She just came in and told me…."Remember Mommy…diamond on top, silver on the bottom. I need them."

Then, a few days later, I receive this update:

She is coughing up $25 of her own money to buy them. We have already raided the piggy bank. She is going to get them today. No other shoe will do, it appears.

That's right. Anna ponied up what likely amounts to her life savings for a pair of shoes. Joe and Amy paid the other half. Personally, I think it's a pretty good lesson for her. Having paid her own money for them, she'll probably take better care of them and appreciate them more.


A few weekends ago, Joe and Amy and the girls were in town. When I walked into Jason's mom's house, one of the first things Anna said to me was "I got Michael Kors flip flops! They have a diamond. Wanna see them?" She brought me upstairs and dug them out of her suitcase. She was absolutely beaming.


And here they are, at the grand re-opening of the North Carolina Museum of Art no less, in all their diamond designer glory:

A girl after my own heart. Joe said to me later, "You must be pretty proud. This is kind of a moment for you two." I told Amy they were in for it once she discovers purses.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Can't live with him, can't live without him

No, I'm not referring to Jason. Not in this particular case anyways. I'm talking about our plus jeune chat, Elwin.

Elwin has a history of mischief. A long history. A very long history. So it should have come as no surprise when I turned towards the kitchen one evening and spotted this:

I don't even know how long he'd been up there before I noticed. As Suze says about Rocky's exploits, I'm not even mad. I'm just impressed.

And recently, I had noticed a few times that the laundry door was open a few inches. And I noticed a few times that the basket of cleaning cloths I keep there was in disarray. (Yes, I fold my cleaning cloths. Shut up.)

Then, a few evenings ago I heard the laundry closet pop open. I looked around the living room and guess who was nowhere to be found? You guessed it:

So busted. So so busted. I emailed this pic to Jason as he was traveling at the time of the crime and he replied back "I don't see any guilt in his eyes." In fact, I'd go as far as to say he looks rather pleased with himself. Which makes it even worse. HE THINKS IT'S TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE. I'm going to have to get something to babyproof the door because once he gets something set in his little mind, he'll keep doing it over and over and over. He is the very definition of a "creature of habit".

Then there's this...

And just like that, all is forgiven.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hurricane season is over

I know this isn't the most timely of posts since we're already about midway through the NHL playoffs at this point. But, you'll have to forgive me since I was pretty much single handedly unpacking our lives for the first half of April, which is when these events were taking place. So I'm slowly but surely catching up here. But, enough with the disclaimers. Onward.

Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity whatsoever will know that I have whinged about twelvity million times about missing almost all of hockey season in Raleigh. So when I found out we would be returning home just in time to catch the last two home games of the season, well, I was elated to say the least.

Our first game was a major bust. MAJOR. We went in with high expectations since we were playing the Devils. We match up pretty well with them and it's usually a great game to watch. Usually. Not this time. The 'Canes came out lazy and it was probably the worst I've ever seen them play. It was miserable. 4-0. I had a sad.

(Jason evidently had a happy. I told him to look sad for the photo but he kept smiling. Because he loves driving me crazy.)

But things were soon looking up. On the day of the last home game, there was a Caniac Cookout at lunch. And there were rumors flying that Raleigh was going to host the 2011 NHL All-Star game. So when we heard that there would be a press conference for a "very exciting announcement" at the cookout and that the NHL commissioner was in town for it, we knew it was happening. The turn out was crazy considering it was in the middle of the work day.

It's official!! Very exciting news for us hockey-crazed southerners. (Yes, we do exist. Lots of us. Contrary to what some fans from "traditional" markets think about hockey below the mason-dixon line...)

Can you tell it was hat giveaway night? Considering we were officially out of the playoff race and it was therefore a technically meaningless game, I think the sell-out crowd was pretty impressive.

The crowd was not only large in size, but large in voice as well. The atmosphere in the arena was very much like a playoff game. It was a really nice way to end the season. Of course, it helped that they gave us something to cheer about. We rolled right over Montreal. Not to mention our captain, Eric Staal tallied up a hat trick! A hat trick! On HAT GIVEAWAY NIGHT! How perfect is that?? The crowd went particularly nuts over that one. Jason threw his but I kept mine because I knew it would only land approximately three rows down. And I had big plans for mine.

Elwin was not excited about my big plans on hat giveaway night.

Seriously, look at that face. NOT HAPPY.

"Ai hate Hurrycaynze. Dis iz y ai frow up n ur fancee shoos. Bish."

We had one more away game a couple days later and word got out that lots of fans were going to the airport to welcome them home. This is a tradition 'Canes fans have had since the year we won the Stanley Cup but usually do it only during the playoffs. (Dead serious. People go to the airport at like 2:00 in the morning.)


Chad LaRose does a drive-by wave.

And we have another reason to be excited 'round these parts... The Hurricanes were one of six teams picked to open the next season in Europe. I loved it when this popped up on the video board at the end of the last home game:

Yes, we're going. Did you ever doubt it for even a second? And if that weren't enough, Phuze are meeting us over there for some debauchery. My head might explode. How much do I love it that my air travel confirmation says RDU to HEL? So as Suze and I have grown fond of saying in all our emails over the past several weeks...See you in HEL!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

For the love of Dawson

As an add-on to the last post...

We decided to stop off in Wilmington for lunch on the way home from Myrtle Beach. Some of you may know that Wilmington is where Dawson's Creek was filmed. (In case you're wondering - every local I've ever asked said the same thing: Most all the cast were sweet and friendly, especially one Pacey Witter and one Joey Potter. The sole exception was James Van Der Beek, who was kind of a jerk. Why am I not surprised?)

Anyway, Jason needed an ATM. For some reason he happened to know a little shop which randomly had an ATM in the back. A weird little shop. They sold a lot of wicca stuff and the man inside had on a full blown wizard costume. Don't ask me. Don't ask me about the man in the wizard suit and definitely don't ask me how Jason knew about this ATM.

I HAVE NO IDEA.

So. Right above the ATM was a huge Dawson's Creek poster. As you can imagine, it seemed slightly out of place next to books of spells and assorted magic crystals and poison rings and eye of newt and tongue of toad or whatever.

But let's take a closer look...

NOT FOR SALE.

NOT! FOR! SALE! I like to think they had so many requests to purchase the poster that they had to put a post-it note on it.

"Listen up people. Don't even dare to ask me or anybody else in this shop about buying this poster. As you can see, it's NOT FOR SALE. I don't care what you offer me for it. It's NOT FOR SALE. I will not sell it to you. So don't even ask. Because it's NOT FOR SALE."

I guess Dawson (and his awful haircut and huge forehead) just has a special hold on some people.

Monday, May 03, 2010

I'd like to thank my youngest brother...

...for going to school in Myrtle Beach and therefore graduating in Myrtle Beach. Because, for Jason and me, that meant a mini-vacay. We figured if we're going to drive three and a half hours to the coast, we might as well get an ocean front room at a swish hotel for our trouble. So, well done Kurt. Good job on the whole graduating thing. And even better job on the whole graduating at the beach thing.

Here I am, in all my blindingly fair-skinned glory, with my mom, dad and two little brothers.

(Doesn't fair-skinned sound way better and more aristocratic than pale? Let's go with that.)

And after the festivities, we headed back to our hotel for a little nap in the hammocks by the beach.

With this view overhead and the sound of the ocean in the background, it was pretty impossible to not relax.

After nap time, we went for a stroll on the beach. Well, I strolled. Jason skipped shells on the water. Because he's a boy. And that's what boys do.

Cocktails al fresco. I'm sure you can guess who each of these belong to.

Never turn down a drink that has actual chunks of strawberry in it. It's just a personal rule I have.

Another rule I have is to take any and all opportunities to enjoy good champagne. Weddings? Sure! A new house? Absolutely! Anniversaries? Yep! Sitting on your balcony watching stars come out and listening to the ocean? Damn right.

Somehow, Jason woke up just in time for sunrise over the Atlantic. So we sat on our balcony and watched the magic unfold. (And then went right back to bed for another hour and a half, mind you.)

Jason had a sad when it was time to go. I let him have a moment alone with the beach.

"C U L8TR OSHUN."