2014 with a view

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That cat! If only he could hang curtain rods while he was up there….

2014 came quicker than I thought – time has appeared to speed up in the past several weeks.  Much like smarter-than-the-average-tabby-cat who climbs ladders, I have this sinking feeling that 2014 will be a year of change, challenge, and perhaps (Lord willing) an extraction of the thorn in my side.

Much has changed around the barracks here….I have decided to redo my sitting room by adding large red curtains, plants, and better lighting.  One night when The General and I were sitting on the couch, I told him I felt our living room needed to be changed, so we started moving furniture randomly at 9:30pm…..and we found a much cozier medium and added a few upgrades: a candelabra surrounded by other candles in our fireplace in lieu of the gas logs we have yet to purchase gas for, cutting our entertainment center stand in half to create a lower profile, and adding better bulbs to our seldom-used overhead light (it used to make the room look….jaundiced).  We’re also tackling the non-dinning room aka The General’s art studio; it’s the only room downstairs with original almond paint.  The General has decided to paint a wall mural on one side too.  I am very excited about that!

I’m not sure what’s causing this nesting frenzy, but it has been fun and only slightly expensive.  Our whole downstairs has a warmer feel to it.  I like it a lot.

Upcoming adventures include a hen party in honor of my sister’s upcoming nuptials in Wisconsin (because that’s the place to go in the middle of winter, apparently), a Caribbean vacation for aforementioned wedding, and a trip to some random place with my friend Alice (locale yet to be determined).

We have continued attending the church I had mentioned some time back.  It’s been really good.  You can totally feel the Holy Spirit in the air.  I need to get involved.  They have a ministry that has spiked my interest in a realm I have very little training.  It’s a matter of me picking up the phone and making it happen.  I don’t know why I’m dragging my feet – fear of the unknown, I suppose, and how my last volunteer gig just reiterated my outcastness.

2014 is off to a great start.  Now I am just waiting for the warm seas and weather.  I need a day in the sun on a board in the waves.

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Some like it hot. I’m one of them.

In an effort to finally reach my goal of toning and strengthening every skeletal muscle in my body, I have embraced yoga.  Now, it’s not the new-age chanting lifestyle; it’s mastering poses.  I use this book which is amazing – it’s in English, not Sanskirt, and it focuses on yoga as an exercise, not a religion.  It’s perfect. I even downloaded an interval app on my phone to set reps…..so I hold the pose for 20 seconds and do the postures for 10-15 minutes.  I have some serious arm muscle going on and the ever-so-slight ab definition.  I have also made strides on poses I couldn’t do at first — some of them I have mastered, others I am well on my way to conquering!

The motto for my life is the same as Monty Python’s: “And now for something completely different.”  I decided to take a class in Bikram Yoga.  This is also known as “hot yoga.”  It’s done in a room that’s kept at 105°F (41°C).  It felt like heaven to me, especially after this cold snap.  It was very challenging as well as calming.  I sat our for a few poses — some where too advanced for me.  Oh, and you sweat buckets.  Seriously. I was drenched!  This is not the exercise for the unhydrated; I drank extra water every moment I could at work to prep for it.  I lost a lot more water than I thought I would…..I actually stopped sweating toward the end of class, which is not good.  One has to be careful of hyperthermia and hyponatremia.

I wasn’t in any pain after class, it was more of muscle fatigue.  I hurt 2 days later as the lactic acid settled and that was it.  While I do not have the energy or the drive to make this a several times a week habit as one lady I met there – but I will go back for a class here and there.  What I loved about this class were the people.  Some of them were very experienced, as seen by their rock-hard bodies and expert moves, but there were a lot of newbies and people in the middle like me.  The woman who befriended me was, medically speaking, severely obese — she was on a weight loss challenge for herself and she fell in love with hot yoga.  She did some of the poses better than I did!  Major kudos to her for getting out there and owning it! Old, young, out of shape, more in shape than I will ever be in this lifetime – it was a cross section of society in there.  Amazing.

Here’s to new experiences!

 

The Capital Tours

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Behold, The Lincoln Memorial and a statue of Robert E. Lee

Over Memorial Day weekend, my sister-in-law, Martha, Mary, Lazerus, and myself all ventured into our nation’s capital via the Metro train.  It was their first time into the city and taking a train — they loved it.  We hit up the WWII Memorial — I hadn’t seen it since it was rebar — very awesome, and very moving to see the veterans there.  Being the awesome Illinoisian aunt I am, we then toured the Lincoln Memorial, and walked past the White House to get lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (which is, I might add, right next to Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was shot….).  From there we trooped onto the Air and Space Museum (there was a lot of air….and space there).  We caught the correct train back home (I, um, kinda bought the wrong tickets for the wrong train….but this is typical of traveling with me) and another amazing adventure was in the books!  The kids did great and I have this great memory with them!

A few weeks later, The General and I hit up the other capital: Richmond.  Not only is it the capital of Virginia, but back in the day it was also the capital of the Confederate States of America.  Being the huge Civil War buffs that we are, we did the riverwalk, the Civil War Museum, and took a leisurely stroll down Monument Avenue to see all the huge monuments to the CSA heros.  One of my college buddies lives in Richmond, and she was having a party, so we crashed there after our tour.  We also had lunch here, which I highly recommend.

All in all, it was hugely educational.  I even learned something about Virginia!  We found this at a rest stop just off of I-95.  Virginia is a dude!

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An anatomically correct Virginia!

The Key West Adventure

The Key West Adventure

For our 5th wedding anniversary, The General surprised me with a trip to Key West/Key Largo. Here’s a snapshot of what trouble we got into!*

* Trouble may include a BnB swimming pool, random roosters that roam the city, canoeing in a mangrove lagoon, eating key lime pie (gotta prevent scurvy somehow), watching the sunset, relaxing on a very still ocean reading a great book, and drinking frozen fruity drinks in between sunsets.

Pier to Pier sharing

A couple of weeks ago I went to the dermatologist to get a body scan: you get naked and they look over every inch of your skin for signs of sun damage, abnormal moles, and skin cancer.  I live at the beach and I’m a thirtysomething now, so I figured it was high time I get checked out.  It was my 1st ever exam like this and I’m glad I went: they biopsied 2 sites.  One was negative, the other was not.  While it wasn’t skin cancer, it had the potential to become that in the future, so they did a punch biopsy to remove the entire mole and the skin around it…..it left a big hole, so they stitched me up.  Ugh.  For the 3rd time in 5 years, I have stitches.  The worse part is that this is on my right arm, right by my wrist and I can’t lift anything over 20 pounds in fear of ripping my stitches and having an even bigger mess.  This means no arm workouts for me that I was so diligent in doing; no rock climbing, no yoga. I have another week or so until they take the stitches out, so I felt the need to do something epic to make up for my lack of lifting. My ultimate goal is to do a deadman pull up.

I can’t run during the week because of the sun: it’s dark before work and it’s dark after work.  I love running at night, but I live in Wilmington, a city that is above the national average in murders, rapes, and robberies.  Really, it’s just not a good idea.  So I’ve turned into a weekend warrior, run-walking 4 miles when I can.  I decided for a change of scenery I’d drive to the pier at Carolina Beach and do my typical 4 mile: 2 out, 2 back.  I had my GPS watch on so I could track my milage.  I started walking south towards Kure Beach when it hit me:  I should walk to the Kure Beach Pier.  That doubled my workout: 8 miles around trip.  I was on!

It was so good for my soul.  I really pushed myself.  I saw a dolphin in the shorebreak with a baby – another woman who saw it said it appeared she was nursing – and had it been summer, I probably would have ran out there to try and be near them.  I found beach glass, I had great music on my iPod, and the sun was shinning.  I took off my coat and tied it around my waist because I got too hot — perfect day!  However, I am not super woman.  Running on packed sand is hard on the legs and the last 2 miles I walked the entire thing.  While I had water with me, when I got back to the car I was visibly weak and didn’t feel quite right.  I stopped at Food Lion on my way in for a quick snack of a Kind Bar (love love love those things) and a bit of chocolate (hey, I needed the sugar and I totally earned it).  Once I got home and ate more food and drank more water, I laid on the couch for an hour and a half.  Muscularly speaking, the next day I was a hot mess.  So sore, but it was so worth it.

This weekend, it was again really nice out, so I decided to do it again.  This time The General came with me.  He hasn’t been able to run in over a year because he blew out a joint in his toe and can’t run without immense pain.  Walking, while it can bother it, isn’t as bad as running.   So we packed a bag of granola bars and water and walked towards Kure Beach.  We stopped twice to rest and rearrange socks.  For being 42, he’s quite the trooper.  But I knew this already: we’ve backpacked Europe 3 times in our relationship.  It was a great beach hike, with another picture perfect North Carolina winter day.  We had some great meaningful conversations and laughed about stupid things as well.  Another epic adventure!  And we weren’t all that sore this morning either!

When I did my solo run/walk, I did it in 2 hours.  Walking with The General, it took us 2 hours 23 minutes.  “Next time, we’ll try to shave off 20 minutes,” The General said.   I’m already looking forward to our next hike!

Another life goal of mine is to walk from Ft. Fisher to Bald Head Island (which is now technically a peninsula after a hurricane), which is about 18 miles one way on the beach.  I’d spend the night or 2 on the island and then backpack back to Ft. Fisher.  Someday!

Other random things from the road….

Finally, to recap our Ireland/Germany adventures….

Despite the fact there are 3 college degrees between us, we couldn’t figure out how to make an out-of-country call (Germany to Ireland).  Someone got cold feet about renting a car, so we skipped out on our car rental after 3 failed phone attempts and took a bus to the west coast of Ireland.  Bus trip was a fantastic idea, by the way.

Our travels in Ireland led us to Bunratty Castle, just outside Limerick.  Amazing!

In the castle there was an old relic from the Celts found on the property when they were restoring the castle.  It’s a fertility symbol of sorts and the guide said if you touch it, you have twins within the year.  So, we, um, touched it.  A part of me freaked: is this idolatry?  I fully believe the Lord will do with us as He will, and I only want what He wants for our lives – He supersedes it all.  I’ve decided this I’m filing this under making wishes with birthday candles or at 11:11.  Come what may, the Lord has it all in his hands.

The overhead PA system in German train stations is just pointless.  No one can understand what they’re saying.  The could be piping in Hitler speeches for anyone knows.  It’s garbled German.

My favorite part of the trip?  Leaving our hostel at 0600 after a couple hours nap, running across Dublin in the cold pouring rain (no umbrella) to catch a bus to the coast.  I love having a rough idea of a plan and just going with it.  I think it’s because my job is so technical and regulated – I like the spontaneity.

We met a few random people we exchanged numbers with, but no strong friendships were made this time.

Interesting Berlin facts: The only Nazi building still remaining is now the German tax office. Most. Hated. Building. In. Germany.  There is graffiti everywhere — except on the Holocaust memorial.  Why?  Because it’s painted with an anti-graffiti paint.  Who made the paint?  The same company that also made the gas for the chambers in concentration camps.  Oops.  I guess it all comes full circle, huh?  Lady Victoria, the chick in the chariot on top of the Brandenburg Gate, is glaring at something.  That something is the French Embassy.  And they say Germans have no sense of humor.

Ireland was founded by the Vikings.  This explains much.

I still hate Guinness.  I love strawberry-lime cider.

Nothing related to the Islamic uprising happened or even hinted of happening.  No one was upset we were American – quite the opposite – they spoke English to help me out.  I also realized that Germany is currently holding up the EU with their wallet.  No one wants to tick off the Germans.  If my mom’s family is any indicator of the culture, they don’t forgive and forget easily when they’ve been wronged; unlike America.  You never want to upset the country that’s bank rolling your country in these economic times.

The weirdest part: My passport was not stamped back into the USA.  We thought this was strange.  The General was especially upset, as he wants as many stamps as possible before his passport expires in a few years.  We went through a 2nd “American” screening at the airport in Dublin on our way home.  How was it different?  We took off our shoes in the security check.  Ha!  We filled out our I-94 forms in Ireland and turned them over to an American customs agent there.  When we landed on American soil, we were allowed to leave without further screening.  Odd, indeed.

I cannot wait to go back.

Onto the next: Portugal/Spain in 2016.  Unless we have those twins.

The Crazy Sexy Cat Lady

I ran into Wal-Mart again today for a few items.  I didn’t run into any weirdness this time, and as I made my way through the checkout counter, I knew why.

I was the weird one.

Today I bought fish flakes, cat food, 3 bags of cat litter, a cat toy, and a large box of thong panty liners.  Yup.  Today I was the crazy sexy cat lady because life is too short to wear traditional underwear and be felineless.

Oh, the adventures of Wal-Mart and beyond

I just realized I totally forgot to get light bulbs.  Oops.

I just had a quick trip to Wal-Mart to “pick up a few things.”  It ended up costing $45.  How does that happen?  I think my most expensive item was a bag of apples at $5.  I decided that today I would start cooking.

I’m surprising The General with pumpkin cupcakes and homemade cream cheese frosting.  Oh, and this that I stumbled upon this morning.  It looked too good/easy to pass up.  And all I needed were apples.  Yeah, I’m that kind of wife.  I’m also going all out for moi as well – I have 40 hours of work to smash into the week before the weekend hits – and thought it would be a good day to make food to take to work.  Tonight’s menu is a family favorite of mine: my Mom’s curry chicken.  The General is not a fan, but it’s okay, there’s more for me.  I was going to halve the recipe because I make such a huge pot it takes 2 weeks for me to go through it and by then I’m sick of it.  Then the light bulbs I forgot clicked on and I thought to myself, “You could have frozen part of it for the coming weeks.”  I still might do that, but I’m an onion short.  Hmm.  Maybe The General has some onion power somewhere.  He has all the cool spices.  I’m also going to make homemade empanadas as soon as I can convince myself that yes, I will have enough energy left at the end of the day to make bread.  This may be something for Thursday.

I usually avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible, and if I have to go, I go at the wee hours of the morning.  Pallets are stationary, unlike small children and southern women, and so it’s easier to navigate.  Yelling, “Watch out, Yankee coming through!” is not appropriate I’m told.  Well, as soon as I walked through the door, a twentysomething stopped me to ask if I could return something for her (using my ID) for cash because she had already exceeded her returns with her ID.  I told her no, I was not able to do that.  And then added as a quick aside, “There’s a warrant out for me!” and ran into the produce department.  I hate it when people catch me completely off-guard.  The stupidest things will come out of my mouth.

All was well until I got to the dairy section.  A woman opened the refrigerator door for the milk and proceeded to have a conversation with a friend of her’s in the back. “Hey Susan, guess what I did this morning!”  OMG.  It was hilarious…and so random.  Who does that?

The randomness followed me to the confectionary aisle.  As I’m looking for the canned pumpkin, an older gentleman passes me and says my alma mater.  It wasn’t that random, my alma mater  was on my shirt.  “Yes,” I replied.  It turns out he was from a town near-by and so we talked a bit what brought us out this way, 1,500 miles from home.  He’s been out here longer than I’ve been alive — he had on an ECU shirt, but it was where his son went — turns out he worked for the same company my Dad did and ironically, my sister was born just up the interstate from his hometown.  Crazy.  I ran into him again at the poultry counter.  He was a very kind man who seemed tickled there was a fellow Illinoisian roaming around Wilmington as well.

By this time, I made it back to my car without further oddities.  Whew.  Wal-Mart is always an adventure, but this was too much.

….and it has come to my attention that it may be time to start heeding my own advice.  How does one make a completely life-altering decision?  I’m not at the point where I can blog about it because my own thoughts are still incomplete and empirical.  Extremely empirical.  Emphatically empirical.  A possible impasse that may echo for some time to come.  For the time being I’m going to fast from alcohol until Thanksgiving as a sacrifice in prayer to attempt to see what the Lord has to say about this and to commune with Him.  No worries, it’s nothing bad.  It’s just…..life.

Dreissig

I must say the best way to turn 30 is overseas…..or on top of the sea for that matter.  My birthday cruise (Charleston – Freeport – Nassau) was 5 days of awesomeness.

This was the 1st cruise for both of us, so it was quite a learning experience.  We spend a ridiculous amount of money on zee boat, but it was all worth it.  Alcohol is expensive even when there is no tax in international waters.  The biggest take away from cruising?  It will be the best sleep you have ever had.  Our stateroom was in the stern of the boat; between the hum of diesel power and the boat rocking, I had the most intense dreams of my life and my REM cycles were basically comas.  It was amazing.

Our adventures included (but were certainly not limited to):

  • Running a 5k at sea on their running track
  • Driving a stick shift jeep around Freeport and the country roads with a couple from our dinner table
  • Dressing up in formal wear for an evening of elegance (and yes, I wore a dress I bought at the age of 15 — spandex gowns always fit)
  • Hitting up Taino Beach and experiencing the crystal clear blue waters of the Bahamas
  • Eating the finest food I’ve had in my life
  • Gaining 6 pounds from said food
  • Best mixed Long Island/Bahama Mama ever
  • Getting marooned in Nassau due to engine trouble for 4 hours
  • Reading a Clive Cussler book on deck
  • Going down a waterslide on the ship
  • Saw a reef and snorkeled for the 1st time (even though I dropped 2 snorkels in the reef 15ft below so I eventually just gave up and just put my masked face in the water to take in the beauty of the fish and coral)
  • Had my 1st ever catamaran ride
  • Thoroughly enjoyed my marriage (as my pastor would say)
  • Ate my birthday lunch at Senior Frogs.  I know, there’s on in MB, but here was way awesome.  I would go back, the veggie fajitas were perfect
  • Finding out one of the ladies from my bible study was also on the cruise and we ran into them in the cafeteria
  • Saw a live show on stage — I had “notes” for whoever the TD was due to their lighting choices (the entire grid was freakin’ technobeams. Seriously?!?! Rail was intel with ETC parcans with odd gel holders) — but actor/singing wise it was well done – women dancing in thongs and fishnets for a scene can be tasteful if done right, believe it or not
  • Learned how to play roulette – and lose.  Did the same with the 2 cent slot machines – I was up by $5 – but I kept going and lost it all.  The game of craps was explained to me but it was way over my head, so I didn’t play that.  I lost about $30.  How fitting, eh?

Dinner was fun – not only was it a 3 course gourmet meal – but you had to dress nicely, which meant no flip flops.  So to dinner every night I wore my 5″ Guess peek toe patten leather pumps.  Oh yeah, finally had a reason to wear them.  Our dinner companions were all from South Carolina and it was quite the motley crew.  Even though I was a sophisticated 30 year old for half of the cruise, I was the youngest there by 10 years.  2 of the couples were on their honeymoon: a super-Christian couple (they were so cute) and a couple from MB that went with us on the jeep adventure.  They were so easy going and we laughed a lot.  One couple was hit or miss – they only showed up a handful of times.  The oldest couple there were obviously wealthy and cultured — and very interesting.  When everyone was exchanging “how we got engaged” stories, they were mum.  “We’re getting divorced,” the man said.  How odd, I thought, to get divorced and cruise with your soon to be ex-wife.  I brought this up to The General and he laughed.  What they meant was they were divorcing other people to be together.  And this was their celebration.  Oh.  Wow.  How I missed that context clue, I don’t know.  Nonetheless, we all gelled and had excellent dinner conversation.

And the service?  OMG.  I’ve never had such wonderful examples of customer service than on that boat.  Wow.  They even turned down our bed at night.  It would just magically happen!  We’d come back, and tada! complete with pillow chocolates.  I suspected gnomes.  We have gnomes in our house, but instead they leave crumbs on the counter, sand on the floor, and stuff all over the place.

To quote The General on my voicemail during his 1st day back at work, “I want to get back on the boat.”  Indeed.  We’d totally do it again, now that we know what to expect….and spend.  I’m already planning a Mediterranean cruise for my 50th.

2 things really hit home on the cruise.

Kure Beach is still my favorite.  Sure the waters were clear in the Bahamas and the reef made me want to be SCUBA certified, but there were no waves.  It was like a giant blue lake, even thought it was an ocean.  I ❤ my KB.  That didn’t change.

The General has joked (half joking, I believe),  that he would buy me boobs for my 30th birthday if I wanted them.  I’m a 36B, but the “B” stands for barely.  Since I’ve started packing on the pounds with the cruise and then my parents had to go and spoil me rotten with Harry and David goodies (cookies and truffles) — so needless to say, I got some boobs.  Unfortunately I got the free hips and thighs too.  And I lost my receipt.  The pavement and I are going to go on a lot of dates in the next few weeks. <sigh>  I really do want to tone everything.  And no, I’m not getting a boob job.

The most awesome gift came from my mom and husband – Rosetta Stone for German.  The General and I are planning a Berlin adventure for next summer and my German consists of what I remember from my freshman year of high school and bits of Rammstein lyrics — I really do want to learn the language of my ancestors.  So far, it’s been quite a challenging study plan.  My next goal is to start reading books in German — but I don’t have a firm enough grasp of the language for novels just yet.  I asked The General to get me the book “Twilight” in German for Christmas – it’s easy language and I know the story.  It’s hilarious: in German that title is “Biss Zum Morgengrauen,” which literally translates to “bite of the daybreak.” I guess that would be twilight, huh?  It’s going to be an amazing ride and I hope I can speak it well enough to say, “Ja, Ich sprache Deutsch” – yes, I speak German.

And so there it is: dreissig (which is 30 in German).  This decade is gonna rock.

Make like an egg and beat it

Pennsylvania was awesome, we had such a great time with the family there.  I went face first into the pierogies and learned of a new Polish dish: haluski (which basically means cabbage and noodles).  I’m really getting into the whole heritage cooking bit.  Here’s a recipe I found, but haven’t tried yet.  The General, who is half Polish, commented he didn’t care much for this.  Are you kidding me?!  This stuff was amazing!

The craziest part of the 12 hours in a car was the last stretch of curving mountainous highway at 4am.  I was driving – and getting very tired, I probably shouldn’t have been driving at this point – and Google maps tells us to take a right hand turn.  It was a dirt road.  We kinda laughed about it. “If directions to your house include, ‘turn off the paved road,’ you might be a redneck.”  And then it went from dirt road to boulder field.  We’re in a little hatchback, this car was not designed for a dirt road with rocks as big as one’s head.  Remember playing Oregon Trail as a kid and at the end you have to do that river part where you’re dodging logs?  Same concept here.  Luckily, this was the last road to take, and 5 scary minutes later, we pulled into the homestead at 5:30am.  We turned off the ignition, leaned the seats back, and promptly fell into a deep slumber for 3 hours before we woke up for the party.  All of my nieces and nephews where there – we got huge family picture – and we had a blast.  I played what I called “Polish volleyball:”  it’s volleyball where there are no set positions and you serve from the wrong side of the court.  It was hilarious, but a lot of fun.

The past couple of days haven’t been kind to me.  I decided to head on into an angry looking ocean the other day with nearly head high shorebreak.  I got up to my ankles and a big wave came.  I tried to block it with my board, but instead, the ocean pushed the board into my forehead and knocked me down backwards, rolled, and pushed me.  I have a goose egg on my forehead, which lucky for me, hasn’t started changing colors.  My back was scraped up, but the muscular strain was much worse.  I sat on the beach for a few to collect myself – I really thought I had a concussion.  I’m fine.  A little wiser now, too.

Work has been crazy.  That place really stresses me out.  I have a hard time not getting frustrated.  Especially when you’re there for 11 hours and you’re  doing some mundane task like counting cells under a microscope when you should be half way through a cup of tea on the couch at home.

I feel I haven’t been using my mornings effectively.  I’ve tried to limit my time on Facebook and spend more time in my quiet time, but it never seems to work out on the stage of real life.

I’m not sure if it was from the reunion or my love affair with s’mores, or me being non-compliant with my thyroid Rx,  but my weight is on it’s way up.  I started back on my vegetarian diet and all was going well until last night: I saw the soup at work was “vegetarian beet” and I was like, “Huh, I don’t care for beets, but I will try it!”  Well, the hand written sign actually said “beef” not “beet.”  Oops.  Oh well, I ate it and it was really good.

I should have gone out surfing this morning, but the waves didn’t look too good on the cam, despite the ocean looking like pepper with all the surfers out there.  It was a cool 21C morning, so we went running.  Ran a 5k in 34 minutes ::sigh::  It’s racing season and I need to seriously get my butt in gear with some speedwork if I want to actually run a respectable time.

I’m going to miss the summer, but I’m sorta looking forward to fall.  I want both.  I want some fall days mixed in with those awesome summer days.

Romancing the Stone, Cape Fear Style

It had been awhile since The General and I had gone hiking at Carolina Beach State Park – as we usually get lost – so we decided to trek out there again on a whim this past weekend.  Without a map or really any idea where we were going, we set out into a coastal Carolina forest.  I love this state.

Our adventure quickly turned from groomed trails to the Sugarloaf trail that runs by the river.  We walked along the bank until we came to this:

The bridge over the marsh had obviously seen better days, but being the crazy adventurer I am, I convinced The General that it was structurally sound.  And so, our Romancing the Stone adventure began, minus mudslides and having Danny DeVito chase after us.

We ended up on another more secluded beach of the Cape Fear River and we found some of my favorite marine animals: fiddler crabs!  They were everywhere!

I had a video of this, but it wouldn’t upload.  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but once I sat down and observed them, they would wave their claws up and down.  I thought they had made me their new leader!  All the crabs were doing this!  So hilarious.  You can pick up these crabs, too!  They act all tough, but they get quite defensive when they’re in your hand and become all shy.  I sat there for about 10 minutes just watching them.

While I was crab watching, The General had brought a sketch pad and drew a quick river’s edge scene with a washed up tree.  It was boiling hot outside and the tide was coming in (i.e. the trail was disappearing!), so we hightailed it out of there to a shortcut back to the car.  We plan to go back soon and see where this trail of bridges leads!

An awesome weekend (besides the work part)

I ate and drank like I was a sailor on shore leave this weekend.  And I’m not apologizing.

There’s nothing quite like spending a Friday night on a deserted beach, drinking wine out of travel coffee mugs (illegally) with 2 very awesome friends, talking and laughing about random stuff.

This weekend was Mirandapalooza, as Miranda returned to the Port City for Azalea Fest – we had a blast!  We went on the garden tour; I was slightly disappointed there were not more eye candy in terms of plants.  It was all very nice, but very plain.  I have big plans for my yard, and if I want to be on the 2025 Garden Tour, I need to get started.

It started with mimosas at 1030 and ended that night with 2 empty wine bottles and polishing off the rest of the champagne from the morning.  I wasn’t drunk, but I certainly could not have driven a car.

The Sex and the City girls ride again!

And then were was that work part.  Luckily, it was cut short by muscadine wine and more Miranda/Samantha/Charlotte time!  Sweet.

The oddest thing: I looked at the pictures of me from  the weekend, and despite the fact I lost weight (maybe it was all the M&Ms I consumed this weekend?), my face looks really fat.  Like I have chipmunk cheeks.  I don’t know if it’s my weight or just my German facial features and my ridiculously deep set eyes.  I hate pictures of myself.

More adventures are on the horizon in terms of painting and roadtrips and friends and family and oh my!

The adventures are never ending here, just how I like it 🙂