Saturday, December 31, 2011


Sorry for the delay...I haven't been very good at blogging recently!

We had a very nice little Christmas party at our house - starting with a fairly standard big meal.

After a bit of was upstairs for the present opening.

Richard and Miranda got a few doggie-related gifts - this doormat reads "Wipe Your Paws"...

Robert acting silly amidst all the wrapping paper...

Everyone had a nice time, I think!

Even me in my silly Santa hat!  Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Breakfast at Barney and Jackie's

I'm posting from my little handheld itouch for the first time so this may look weird. We are always invited to our neighbors for Xmas breakfast . I will post our actual Christmas photos when I can. But I have these photos on my itouch so they are what you get for now! Robert joined us ... But I didn't get a photo of him !! Richard and Miranda were at her folks house then. Fun as always and no dishes to clean up!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cactus

My Christmas cactus seems to know it's Christmas!!! I didn't do anything to it (like take it to a dark room or anything like that). Quite lovely this year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mills River Christmas

Time for the Christmas get-together in Mills River.  Duane, I and Miranda flew up, of course.....the boys decided they should road-trip Raleigh-Mills River.  I think they were just a little bit chilly!

Everyone gathered at Mom's house for snacks and the "Chinese Christmas" game that we always play.  This time, Eddie II and Brittany joined us from Italy via Skype!   First, they thought they had Conner (who is over 1 month old now) asleep.....

But apparently not, so he got to join the party too!  He seemed like a real trooper and only fussed at the very end.  It was really cool to be able to see and talk to them!

We were projecting the Skype image up onto Mom and Frank's TV, but the camera was off to the side - so everyone was looking away from the camera.

The house was packed!!

More baby shots!

Random gift shots.....

Everyone had a great time with it - several gifts were stolen a couple of times.

Daisy, of course, had to sit on Duane's lap - the one guy that really doesn't want much to do with dogs or cats....she made herself right at home!

Good time was had by all, I believe.

We had breakfast with Pat and Cordy - Happy Birthday to Cordy, by the way!!!

Then it was back to the airport for the flight home - with a much more full airplane than we had on the way up, somehow!!

Beautiful day - we extended our climb-out from the Asheville Airport a bit...

And got a really nice view of the Biltmore House from above!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Club Christmas Party

It's time for the once-yearly Book Club "Dirty Santa" party.....

First, our hostess had some nice goodies for us to munch on. We (very briefly) discussed our book - The Thorn Birds. I actually hate to admit it, but I did enjoy the rather long, epic story. It's really just a soap opera in one big book....but it's a fun read, anyway!

On to the "Dirty Santa" - lots of fun - several gifts got "stolen".  We had a "2 steal" rule - the 3rd person who has  a gift gets to keep it!

Decisions, decisions....

A nice, fun evening!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another boring office party.....

Every year, I go to great pains to subject the Cardinal Air gang to my version of the "office party".

I think everyone had a nice time visiting "away from the airport"....

Isn't it weird when you look at your camera later and see that a photo that you thought you snapped was recorded as a video????

Friday, December 09, 2011

Rum balls/last of an era/liquor story

This is not just any old bottle...stay with me here....

I definitely didn't drink much of this. I'm actually not a know, the red-wine gets in the way of hard-liquor-drinkin' !!!

I made my rum-balls for Christmas yesterday.

You know, crush the vanilla wafers, add powdered sugar, minced pecans, syrup and RUM.

I finished off this bottle of rum with the last batch of rum-balls.

And I was cleaning up.

And I was walking over to toss this bottle.

And I realized it was the last of "Daddy's" liquor cart.

Let me explain.  My dad was not a liquor drinker.  He often drank cheap beer after mowing the lawn, but I'm not sure I ever saw him drink liquor.

This is the way that I know the story - it may not be quite accurate....I was long gone, we were living in Boca Raton raising 2 toddlers at the time.

 It was probably 1990.  I don't think he'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer at that point.

My mom worked as an accountant at a local firm and was very friendly with her co-workers.

They invited everyone from work over for a "pool-party".

Being wonderful hosts, they got a bunch of liquor for the party.  I'm sure it was a fine party.

Most of the liquor was left over.  The party-er's must not have been liquor drinkers either.

All the liquor was stored on a cart in their den.

Then he had the nerve to leave us.

And somehow, I got a few of the bottles of liquor.  And his overcoat.  And a few special guns.  All precious.

The liquor was toted in a big Rubbermaid tote as we moved from New Hill to Apex to Pittsboro.  There were several  half gallons of various brand-name liquor.

Through the years, I've slowly used them up in various recipes and drinks.  The bottles were actually dusty with age.

The liquor stayed very fresh.  Going on 20 years.  Wow.

So, if you get a rum-ball this year.....enjoy!!  I know I will.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

News!! Extra, Extra!!

I'm assuming since it's out on Facebook that I can announce it here!

Richard and Miranda are engaged!! No details yet. I'm very happy for them!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


When she says, “What?” it isn’t that she didn’t hear you; she’s giving you a chance to change what you said.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

NC Pecans

Most every year, my sweet neighbors Al and Shirley, offer to bring fresh pecans to me. There is an elderly couple who they know near Siler City that have a bunch of pecan trees and they sell nuts, word-of-mouth.

This year, I got "just" 10 pounds for my Christmas baking.....of course, they are not shelled!!

So, I borrowed Al and Shirley's very neat nutcracker and got to work!

Here's a close-up view - it's cool and so simple. Whew...I've cracked alot of nuts!

Monday, December 05, 2011


I'm going to start putting cute quotes I see up randomly....

You can sail anywhere on the planet and never be more than 7 miles from land - it might be straight down, but its never more than seven miles


Myrtle Beach

It was such a lovely weekend, we needed to fly somewhere Sunday!! So, off to Myrtle Beach...wandered around Broadway at the Beach - as we came upon the notorious "bull ride", Duane was goading me to try it again. I think not!! This is NOT me - but a young lady - who did not fair as well as I did as she fell off after just one "spin". I think I made it thru a few spins before I was bucked off!

Had a few oysters for a snack - then an uneventful, peaceful flight home!

Sunday, December 04, 2011


This weekend was our friend's annual "customer appreciation day" at his business....and I always volunteer to cook the hushpuppies in the "turkey cooker" that Mom and Frank gave us years ago....

Lot's of food and an absolutely gorgeous December day!

And the hushpuppies were wonderful, as usual!!

Friday, December 02, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I've started the preparations for my company Christmas party now......let's see how many things I can put in ziplock bags in my freezers!!!   I can't do it all the day before, so some of it has to be done ahead of time..... (Party date is next Saturday night....finger food for 35+ !!!!!)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Yummy lettuce from the garden

I had planted a 99 cent package of  "Variety Lettuce" in my little fall garden.  I am actually surprised that the deer have left it alone.  (They've eaten the radish greens instead....go figure!!)

We had freezing temperatures finally, so I thought I'd better get me one last salad:

I can't identify all the different greens - I see Chard, Arugula and various red/green leaf lettuce.  The Arugula was actually quiet "peppery", but the others were very mild and crisp.   I've got enough in the fridge of a few more salads if it doesn't wilt.   Now all I have in the garden is onions and collards.  Looking forward to a batch of "frosted" collards next - I've read that they get a sweeter flavor once they've been exposed to frost.  I'll let ya know!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brunswick Stew/Neighborhood gathering

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, our lovely neighbors, Barney and Jackie, always invite the neighborhood and their families up for an outdoor gathering.  We've had pretty good weather over the years for this event - sometimes it's quite chilly, but never has it been raining or worse.  This year, if not for all the fallen leaves, you would have thought it was spring!! 

I couldn't have any of the Brunswick Stew because it had beef and pork in it.....but someone had set aside a wonderful pot of vegetarian stew this year!!!!  It was fabulous (I'm sure the high-octane variety was equally yummy!)

Barney was frying the hushpuppies all morning - I never have seen him take the time to eat!  And they were fabulous also!  Fun gathering.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

St. Martin mini-vacation

We spent a little over a week in St. Martin with Sharon and Buddy - lots of relaxing and not much else!!!

This was the view every morning from our little apartment overlooking Oyster Pond on French St. Martin.

Breakfast started out simple and got a lot more complicated and yummy as time flew by.  Always breakfast on the deck in the beautiful sunshine!

Our little apartment.  There was a loft overhead that we never used, but a couple or kids could sleep up there.

Lots of beautiful beaches!

Sharon surprised us by getting her hair braided!!

Cool  "island girl"  for a while!!

Lots of eating was accomplished!! This was a shrimp/goat cheese pizza - and a fabulous salad that had honey drizzled over a calzone.  All the food we had was wonderful and fairly inexpensive. 

Obviously, this is a different meal.....wonderful seared fresh tuna.....

Before breakfast one morning....lots of reading was accomplished by all of us this trip.

See, breakfast got more complicated....leftover pizza and salami were added in for some variety!

Pretty view of Marigot harbor

Our swimming pool at sunset

Our really, really tiny rental car.

We spent a while at the Sunset Beach Bar - which is famous because it is literally right beside the approach end of the SXM runway.  You actually get blasted by the sand from the jetblast if you stand in line with the runway.

An American Airlines jet approaching.  We were actually there during the KLM 747 arrival but the photos were not good.  It only arrives two times per week so a lot of people actually come out to see it.  Quite interesting to see once, not sure I'd do that again.

One morning we spent time at Dawn Beach - the chairs we picked out were right beside a volleyball court (which was not in use when we sat down in the shade of a palm tree).  But soon a big group of guys came over to play - we chatted with them - they were a family of 22 from a cruise ship and had rented 1 room at the nearby hotel for the day so they could use the amenities.  One of the guys got called away by his wife and they asked us for a player......nobody else wanted to, so I volunteered.  I am NOT a volleyball player - but they were good sports.  My team lost.....good fun.

Pretty beach....

Had lunch at a neat restaurant - the Boathouse.

Yummy seafood wrap - lots of calamari - which I didn't realize was so tender and good!

Sorry for the weird order of photos - I didn't actually take as many as I usually do....breakfast was the next photo I took - fresh croissants from the little corner grocery (1 euro each - $1.40)  and some tasty caviar ($4 for a little jar).  Sliced red onions to add some zip!

Sharon pointed out some iguanas - just sunning themselves in some trees.  Ugly things, aren't they??

Pretty flowers abound, of course!

We spent a day at Anse Marcel - a beautiful little beach on the French side - this is a small resort that you can walk thru to get to the beach.

Some fruit hanging from a palm tree...

Some green ones on the other side of the tree....

We stopped at an overlook leaving Anse Marcel - a couple was there taking photos and asked for us to take their photo....and they did the same for us!!

The photo I took by turning around from the previous photo!!

We ate a couple of meals at the "LoLo's" - which are open air restaurants that serve up all kinds of barbequed food in great quantities for low prices.  Lots of locals eat there as well.....this dish cost $8 US and the beer is $1.   Yum....

See  -  pretty beaches everywhere!!

Outside Busby's Beach Bar - another nice meal.

Traffic on the island is a bit of a problem - so we didn't go to the "city" Phillipsburg very much.   It's more of a cruise ship passenger place anyway.

We did a lot of lazing around under beach umbrellas....plenty of time to "people watch".....I snapped this photo because I looked up and saw a pair of swim trunks that rival my son, Robert's swim trunks that I do believe are the ugliest in the world!!! (I think Robert likes them just for that very reason!)

Orient Beach

Complimentary rum drinks (came with renting a beach lounger for the day)....

More food - Duane's burger with French Camembert cheese

We rented chairs for several days from the same fellow - who appeared to run the Orange Fever restaurant.  He was very nice to us - cheerful and gave us some "special drinks".....

Ah, the vacation is coming to a close....because US Air cancelled our flight on Thanksgiving day, we were forced to stay another day......but our little apartment was not available the extra day.  So, we had to pack up and move to a different one.  This one was equally neat - but did not have the beautiful view!

Off to the airport - caught this Piper on takeoff (actually from the smaller airport on the island, not the international one).

One last photo on our way back to the airport!!!

I saved these photos to the end - hope you don't think I'm making fun..... St. Martin is pretty well known for it's tolerance for nude and topless sunbathing.  No, I didn't take any nude photos!!!  But, while people watching, I did spy an interesting couple.  We saw them several times - walking up and down the beach, hand-in-hand.  What was cute was that they were wearing matching bathing suits.  Each day a different suit - and one day we saw them in one color suit in the morning, and a different color suit in the evening.  Just page down, you'll get the idea. 

Saved this one to the last. Enjoy.....