A Perfect Spring Day

April 4, 2009

Today it was about 70 degrees, without a cloud in the sky. We went to Maymont and strolled around the grounds there. They have a petting zoo and lots of lovely little gardens — plus BEARS!

Maymont Bears 2

Joe with Bear

After we’d walked around the whole place, we plopped down on a grassy hill and just enjoyed the sunshine for a bit.

Daddy, you funny

How cute are these two?


Patrick’s Birthday!

April 6, 2008

Today is Patrick’s birthday! I let him sleep in (meaning I kept Lola occupied for as long as I could), made him some coffee and gave him a Vampire Weekend CD (he really enjoyed them on SNL a couple of weeks back).

Eventually, Lola would not be ignored any longer. She woke him up with kisses and allowed him to rub her belly for a while. Then, bless Patrick’s heart, he went out in yucky weather to get me a Sunday paper. What a guy!

Earlier this week he got a special gift in the mail from my folks — a framed “slick” of the Fayetteville Observer page where his photo appeared last month. We’re trying to figure out where to hang it — in the meantime, here it is:

With some of the birthday money his folks sent, we took a birthday trip yesterday to Virginia Beach. We went to the Virginia Aquarium and saw otters, seals, all manner of strange-looking fish, and enormous, old sea turtles.

Here we are with an otter (not real, but hey):

After the aquarium, we went to Harpoon Larry’s for an early dinner near the beach. It was too rainy and cool to go down to the water — maybe next time.

To complete our aquatic theme, we stopped at Carvel on our way back home and picked up a Fudgie the Whale cake! I had told Patrick a million years ago how the old Carvel ads used to come on at my Grandma’s house on Long Island, and those cakes seemed like the most amazing thing a person could get. Here’s one ad I remember:

Fudgie didn’t quite live up to 25 years of hype, but we didn’t hate it. Here he is before getting hacked to pieces:

Post-Christmas Post

December 27, 2007

We are back safe and sound from NY, where I saw my first white Christmas in who knows how long. We had a nice time with Patrick’s folks, racked up some great gifts, ate our weight in candy and just relaxed for a few days.

We also saw I Am Legend, which was scary as all get-out and incredibly sad at one point. That’s all the details you’re getting out of me — go see it!

I’m happy to report that I am finally starting to feel Champ move! What a weird, amazing feeling. It usually happens at bedtime — just when I’m nodding off, this little tumbly sensation pops up in my belly. Tonight I took a long bath and that inspired some acrobatics, too! I can’t wait until Patrick can feel all that movement going on. It makes Champ more of a current presence to me instead of just someone I’ll meet eventually.

This weekend we’ll go to my parents’ house to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my mom’s mom and stepdad, known to us as Mumsey and Grandy.

After that, New Year’s!

Back at home

November 28, 2007

We had such a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving. We all packed up and went to West Virginia, where we stayed in a cottage at the Greenbrier. We ate a lot of food, walked around the grounds, toured a giant old Cold War bunker (from 1962-1992 it was prepared to shelter both houses of Congress in case of a nuclear attack!) and had lots of fun with the children. Oh, and Patrick and I discovered a love of checkers, which I let him win once or twice.

I got a miserable cold while we were there, so I didn’t take a whole lot of photos. We did get some nice shots of ourselves and the extended family for Christmas cards, though!

This weekend we’ll be decking the halls for Christmas. (Every other house on our street is already lit up like the Eiffel Tower!)

Back from the beach …

October 6, 2007

What a nice trip! We got lots of quality time with the family, ate way too much and had a lot of fun. Here are some highlights:

Dixon running with his Papa. 

Patrick digging in the marsh. 

Me and Mike looking for the dolphin everyone else sees. 

More photos on Flickr. I got all my photos there a little more organized so things are easier to find. Enjoy!

A Walk to Pitasburg

September 6, 2007

(We learned pretty quickly that people around here don’t pronounce the first R in Petersburg. They also say “air” instead of “our,” as in, “Stop by air office and a member of air staff will be happy to help you.”)

Anyhoo, the other day I decided that if I’m going to do this 5K thing I better figure out exactly how long 5K is. All my training has been around in circles, so I have no idea what distance I’ve gone.

So I clicked around on the Gmaps pedometer site and found that a walk to Petersburg and back was about 5K. I leashed up the dog, and off we went.

Petersburg is just starting to bounce back from some really rough times. The downtown area has lots of little antique shops (of the fancy variety and the dusty, dig-your-own-treasure variety) and great restaurants.

It’s got quite a lot of history too. There were major battles here, including the Siege of Petersburg during the Civil War. Before that, the Marquis de Lafayette (who was born 250 years ago today, thank you very much) and his troops set up artillery on the hill overlooking Petersburg to fire on British troops. Hence the name “Colonial Heights.”

Anyway. Lola and I walked to Petersburg and did a little loop around downtown. On the walk back, her little paws were dragging and I was staaarving. But 5K doesn’t seem like such a big whoop. When you’re walking, anyway …

I brought the camera along. Looky:

Weekend in Greensboro

July 26, 2007

Last weekend I went back to the Triad for an old friend’s wedding shower. Carla and I worked together at the ill-fated Triad Style magazine before it crashed and burned in 2003. She stayed on as a graphic designer with the daily newspaper that owned it, and has worked there since.

This company boasted of never, ever laying anyone off, despite tough times in the newspaper biz, in all their long history. So, at the end of Triad Style, they offered to find me a new position at the big daily newspaper. After some research, they took me into the HR office to tell me about the exciting possibilities in my new position: emptying the change from newspaper boxes around the city.

As intriguing as that “opportunity” sounded, I declined. And I let them know that it would have been kinder to lay me off than attempt to demote me from associate editor to change-emptier. Hmph.

So the wedding shower was full of people who work with Carla at the paper, and they had horror stories about the past month at work. Guess what happened to 40 or so people, including a lot of reporters and photographers? They were laid off.

And the way they did it! One Thursday afternoon, the publisher sent an email out that said something like, “We have to lay some people off, and it’s happening right now.” (I guess when you’re doing that in a newsroom, there can’t be a lot of advance notice.) As soon as everyone had read and absorbed the email, they looked up to see people getting tapped on the shoulder and led into the auditorium. There the unfortunate employees got an official apology, and a team of security guards led them all to their cars. They couldn’t even clean out their desks or say goodbye to anyone. One reporter had moved from out of state to take a job there — she started on Monday and was laid off on Thursday. Cold!

Anyway, Carla’s job is safe. I’m so glad I left there, though! It forced me to move back to Fayetteville, which led me to Patrick and a very happy life. I do cringe when I see those newspaper boxes, though.

After the shower, I met up with my old roommate Mike for a night out in Greensboro, just like old times. We were both astonished at how different everything is. We made our way in from opposite sides of the city, and stayed on our cell phones, yelling, “Oh my God, there’s a Costco on Wendover!” “What is this big building at UNCG?!” “Is that the deli?!”

Our old apartment is still intact, but the house where Mike was living when we met was torn down and replaced with an H&R Block. The Rockola where we worked our fingers to the bone is a drive-through bakery! And our beloved Babylon, where we danced ourselves silly, is now a burrito restaurant. It ain’t right.

Downtown is booming, though! It used to be a bit of a ghost town, but now it’s got loads of restaurants, shops, a huge park and a giant baseball diamond. I wish I had taken more pictures there before, because now I can’t remember what any of those spaces used to be.

After taking it all in, we ate at Natty Greene’s (the former Paisley Pineapple) and bored the waitress with our memories. Sigh.