Christmas morning, Carolina Beach

Christmas morning, Carolina Beach

Spending Christmas morning alone was hard, but the Lord provided a beautiful sunrise, a pod of dolphins, and a very huge smile on my face. He is faithful.

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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!

31 March

Today is officially the 1st day of summer.

Not only do all the trees in my yard have leaves, but Britts Donuts (homemade donuts in Carolina Beach) is open for the season!  I dragged The General out of bed with a promise of coffee from Majik Beans (soooo….gooood…..) and then we headed over for me to get my fix – it’s been since September.

I tried to be good: I only got 2.  And I destroyed them.  I almost went back to get one for the road, but I’m now bikini minded – and slightly high off the amazing coffee at Majik Beans – and thus decided against it.

This week should be an exciting one: One Tree Hill’s series finale airs.  Miranda and I will have snacks and wine ready for our last foray into Tree Hill. I’m going to miss it so much.

Work is the same: it’s not better, it’s not worse.  The craziness remains constant.  While my job search for a non-medical field job was fruitless, I have learned through the grapevine that there is a job opening that just so happens to be my 1st love that I haven’t visited since my 300 level college course senior year.  Nothing is official and the supervisor of that department knows me (and my work ethic); he said he’d love to bring be aboard and he’ll keep me informed as things progress.  It’s the south – everything moves a little slower here.

And so life goes.  It makes my soul happy that summer is here.  All I need now is for the Lord to put some coins into that wonderful wave machine of His and I’ll be all set.

Run, don’t walk

….to Britt’s Donuts!  I’ve lived in the Cape Fear region for 5 years now and I have never been to Britt’s Donuts in Carolina Beach at the Boardwalk.  That all changed this morning.

The General and I headed down to Kure Beach this morning to hang out.  The waves were nice, but I didn’t bring my board because he said there weren’t any waves on the beach cam.  We took the boogie boards out, but my board rash from yesterday’s awesome session on my 6’2 short board (that I can stand up on if I squat down – it’s really pathetic surfing wise, but I had a blast!) kept me from boogie boarding properly.  So we sat on the beach awhile, as I was still half awake.

We decided to get breakfast and get some espresso in me.  Our 1st stop was Majik Beanz, a hippy-dippy coffee shop off the main drag in CB.  I got a latte with some chocolate vanilla in it and I am in heaven.  We then walked to the boardwalk for donuts.  Now, I’m not a big donut fan.  It’s the one sweet treat I can say no to.  I don’t crave them.  I usually am very picky (chocolate) about what kind (chocolate) I like; no glaze (chocolate), no cream-filled stuff (chocolate).  I was skeptical, but everyone I know raves about this place so I had to try it.

Oh. My. God.  Amazing.  They melt in your mouth.  My mouth wasn’t watering, it was crying for more Britt’s Donuts.  I told the General we had to leave before I bought another one.  And other one.  I could have finished off an entire dozen myself (if only it all went to my boobs…..).  It’s a good thing that they are only open during the tourist season and only take cash – I rarely carry cash.  I will be back!  And they’re 85 cents a piece.

Another fun spot introduced to me by Samantha was The Fuzzy Naval   The Peach Belly Button  The Fuzzy Peach.  They have one up off Racine, downtown, and soon to be Monkey Junction.  It’s heaven.  All sorts of flavors of frozen yogurt with EVERY TOPPING YOU CAN IMAGINE!  From fruit to crushed up graham cracker to anything with chocolate, holy cow, it’s an amazing experience.  You pay based on weight, you get to fill yours up!  I joked they have one in heaven, but when you get to the cash register, Jesus shows up and says, “No, it’s okay.  I got this, it’s paid for.”  Samantha, Charlotte and I sat around eating these amazing creations and catching up since it had been forever since we chatted.  We just need our Miranda and we’d be all set.

I live in paradise.

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!

Daybreak, 1 July

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My goal for today was to relive my early am walks I did in the cornfields, watching daybreak arrive.

I got here just as it was in full swing, @ 0530, and I’m mad. The Lord woke us up @ 0300 with a false smoke alarm and I haven’t been to sleep since. Instead of coming to the beach, I tossed and turned. My alarm went off @ 5. I did a random genealogy search online before I realized the time.

It’s been so long since I’ve been out I forgot how fast daybreak arrives and I’m really upset with myself that I didn’t come out here straight away.

::sigh::

Maybe I’m not seizing the moments like I should and I’m procrastinating too much on stuff like booking trips, sunrises, talks I need to have, days off, and life itself.

I keep “waiting for the right time.” What if that right time isn’t on a clock?

Lots to ponder this morning as I watch the breakfast flock of pelicans….

Stat R&R bolus to be transfused over a summer afternoon

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After spending 2/3 of my weekend (read: 32 hours) at work, I can officially say I’m burnt out. I was a frustrated mess yesterday, I didn’t play nice with others. Today I was bound and determined to get out of my work-induced funk.

I ran 2 miles, breakfasted with my General, and headed to one of my favorite places on earth: my secret spot at Kure Beach. The sun was out, the water refreshing, and the book I’m reading about the civil war is nearly finished. I’m also reading “The Lonely Sea,” a collection of short stories by Alistair MacLean, one of my favorite authors. (St. George + the Dragon is my all time favorite.)

Dehydrated and still feeling the stress, despite the beach, I stopped in Carolina Beach at The Treehouse Bistro for a mid afternoon cuppa white chocolate iced mocha. They put mocha ice cubes in it! How awesome! And now I’m sitting on their balcony, watching CB go by. Birds are singing and the soothing ocean breeze is slowly calming my soul. I have a high tea time with Jesus followed by straightening up my house and dinner with Samantha.

I’m hoping to watch the sun rise on the ocean sometime this week, maybe from the pier. My friend J will hopefully come down this weekend to celebrate 10 years of friendship and catch up on life.

This will be my 1st weekend off work since before Memorial Day. I’m going to enjoy it, cuz I’m back to my 32 hour weekend the following week. And thus the cycle begins again….

Discoveries

  • Honey in tea is AMAZING!!!  I am hooked!  I’m looking forward to buying local at the farmer’s markets this summer.
  • A surfing forecast website from the UK that has all the Cape Fear breaks on it too.  Check it out.
  • The break I surf actually has a name: Pelican Watch
  • I haven’t discovered quite how my body will react, but I am going to run a half marathon – quite possibly in May.  I’m going to try a baseline this week and see what happens.
  • Watched the sun rise for the first time even in Carolina Beach (CB).

 

Rum? Check. Gin? Check. Grenadine? Check. Grapefruit and pineapple juices? Check. Triple Sec? Check. Amaretto? Check. Okay, I’m ready!

The Cape Fear region is under a tropical storm warning.  Fantastic.

The General and I hit the waves this morning mainly because we got our new 6’6 and were dying to try it out.  It’s a fast little sucker and it will definitely take some getting used to.  It wasn’t as big and blown out as I thought it was, but there were some waves with real teeth — I managed to get under them at the wrong time.  It’s been 3+ hours and my nose is still dripping ocean water.

It was a blast and half riding the whitewater, there was no way I was going to make it to the outside alive.  Stoke factor was as big as the waves.  Tomorrow is suppose to monstrous with Hurricane Earl headed this way.  Luckily it will miss us, or at least that’s what they’re forecasting.  Hurricanes are like virgos: completely unpredictable until the last moment.

Oh, and we are totally driving to Pennsylvania this weekend: nothing like getting out of town for a huge storm.

So I got all my ingredients — I’m ready for a hurricane.

((I love how this blog went from real estate to a surf report….))

Wavey, with a chance of clams

I hit the surf today, which was minimal, despite having 3 major storms churning in the Atlantic.

It still kicked my butt.

Most of the waves broke hard and fast and about 3 feet….and I somehow always managed to be in break zone.

My next surfing feat is to go down the face of the wave while remaining on the board. So far, as soon as I realize I’m heading down the wave, I bail.  I curl up into a ball and protect my head with my arms from the seafloor or my surfboard (which sometimes thinks it’s a kite) – I look more like a grade school student prepping for a tornado than a bonafide surfer.  I’ve pearled really hard a few times (like today) and that feeling of being at the mercy of the wave with no control is a very scary thing for me.  I struggle cruising down waves on a boogie board – its much more terrifying when you’re on a 7’6 piece of plastic!  Maybe next year that will be my goal, since this year was all about getting comfortable in the ocean and with my board.

It may also help that The General and I are adding to our quiver — our 1st short board should arrive today: a 6’6 turbo fish.  It might be easier to take on those steep waves with something a bit smaller.

The General and I traded boards today, too – I got to try out his 8’0 longboard.  It’s so freaking stable and big compared to my narrow funboard, a very nice ride.  I really had a blast with it in the whitewater when I wasn’t being tossed about by the waves.

One of the many beach treasures I find once in awhile are clam shells that are still connected and open.  The organism has been long gone, but an intact shell remains.  I’ve only found one; I super-glued the ligament (I’m not sure what to call it….) and keep it as a knick knack.  I found one today and put it in my board short pocket and figured if it survived me surfing, I’d take it home.  It did.  Once I got it home, I saw it had a little baby clam inside it, hanging out.  It was still alive!  It had that cilia stuff on the outside of it and after while, it made itself at home, hanging from the top of the clam.  How crazy is that?

I’m debating on weather to take it back to the beach before work.

Morehead? No thanks.

The General and I took our summer day vacation today to the Crystal Coast and it was pretty awesome.

We spent the 1st half of the day hanging out at Emerald Isle – the ocean was so much more blue-green than it is off Pleasure Island.  Despite the lack of industry (read: healthcare facilities), I would totally move to Emerald Isle.  We caught some decent waves via boogie board and saw a swarm of fish arrive with a swarm of seagulls and pelicans.  Stoke factor was high today.

Morehead City, however, just didn’t do it for us.  There wasn’t much there outside of a handfull of restaurants, art galleries, fishing charters, and fish markets.  We did manage to get some yummy ice cream at Captain Bill’s Waterfront Restaurant. We stumbled upon an art studio by this guy who had these fantastic oceanic photographs on aluminum canvas – the detail and the color were beyond anything we had ever seen before.  If I had about 4 figures worth of change lying around my dresser, I so would have bought one.  If you are the in MC, you have to check out this studio!

We left Morehead bound for Pleasure Island and grabbed dinner at The Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar in Carolina Beach.  Dinner was fantastic on the covered patio and we got drinks out on the short pier.  I highly suggest the Ocean Potion cocktail.  I could have ordered a whole pitcher.

After getting my butt handed to me in poker by none other than The General himself, I think I am going to call it a night.