Friday, November 29, 2013


We've successfully moved from our old duplex to our new-to-us house. We'll be switching internet providers (and saving over $24/month!), but the new service won't be hooked up until Dec. 11. So my internet access ... and blogging too ... will be very spotty until then. Sorry!
Yesterday we had our First Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at our church! It was fun, delicious, and a huge success. We have some church members but lots of various visitors. Julia decorated the tables.
The Christmas poinsettias arrived too, so I put them around the communion table.
Adam basically spent the day in the church kitchen. He'd brined the turkey the night before, and it was spectacular -- utterly moist and perfectly cooked. It was a groan board of food!
One friend brought a spiral sliced ham for us to share. Isn't it beautiful?
Thirteen of us gathered around the table. We shared with each other the things for which we're thankful, everything from pets to new attitudes in life.
My plate -- soon, I'll share that cranberry relish recipe. It was great!
We ended up with SO many desserts. Sadly, we brought 1/2 a cake, and parts of 3 pies, back home to our dieting house. I'm sure we'll find some takers to share them.
I'll be here when I can, dear friends. Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy the beginning of Advent this weekend!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

WARNING: Food Post!

Adam reached his 50-pound weight loss goal. Every 25 pounds, he treats himself to a date with me at a restaurant. We choose to eat at Paula's, an Italian restaurant in New Bern. I like their atmosphere, and the food is pretty good. Adam ordered the seafood platter:
I enjoyed my favorite, baked ziti:
Julia went out on a limb and ordered a calzone instead of her usual mozzerella sticks.
And you may ask, "Weight loss? With those meals? How in the world can you hope to keep losing weight if you eat that way?" And you'd be right to ask. Here's what we did:  Adam asked for his large to-go box to come with his meal. Then he separated all the seafood from all the pasta and sauce. He ate the seafood (which doesn't do well left over and is low-cal), and he saved the remainder for lunch the next day. I did the same with my ziti, and Julia didn't have a chance of finishing that whole calzone.

Not only does this method allow us still to eat our favorite foods, it spreads the cost of this meal to cover two meals, so it's both a diet win and a pocketbook win. I'll give you one guess, however, which leftover still sits in the refrigerator, days later.

Yep. Julia's. That's why she's actually skinny, and not trying to lose weight :)

(Note: If I disappear on ye olde blogge later this week, and fail in completing my every-day-blogging for November, it's because we're moving to the new house and do not yet have internet access there. Sorry! I'll b back!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

When You Build a House ...

... And you put in the foundation, does it look like this?
Another new house is going up on the loop near us. We saw this crazy-looking machine there one day, a massive post hole digger. Anywhere else, I would have thought they were digging a well! But not with our water table -- haha!
No, they were simply putting in these foundation posts for a raised house. That's what it's like living on the coast.

Community Thanksgiving Service

Last night the Oriental community joined together for our annual Thanksgiving Service. It was held at the St. Peter's Catholic Church; they have the largest sanctuary and over 300 people attend this service each year. Their harvest decorations on the stage were so beautiful!
I was thrilled to see six pastors standing together up front, all from different denominations, leading us in worship together.
Adam is on the left. The other men represent the local Episcopal, United Methodist, Roman Catholic, Free Will Baptist, and Baptist congregations.
We enjoyed music from the Pamlico Brass group.
And anthems were sung by the Community Chorale, a group I sang with last year. I've been too busy to add a weekly rehearsal to my schedule this fall.
The pastors had met and assigned their various duties for the service, and this year Adam was given the task of preaching the Thanksgiving sermon. He did a great job! He preached about Ex. 24, the passage that describes the ascent of Moses and the elders of Israel, up the mountain to meet God, see heaven, and eat a meal. The text says that they saw God, and they ate and drank. Meals are all about fellowship, and God demonstrates this truth for us Himself. It was a good sermon.
In a day of so much denominational strife and party affiliation and political fighting, how sweet it is to enjoy the love and friendly spirit of other Christians, declining to focus on our differences, and choosing instead to celebrate our common faith. Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why Some People Die

This verse has been preying on my brain the past few days.

"The righteous man perishes, and no one takes it to heart;
And the devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil.
He enters into peace;
They rest in their beds (or perhaps, graves)
Each one who walked in his upright way."
Isaiah 57: 1, 2

At the risk of offending some of my more conservative Christian friends, I'd like to handle the text a bit, and rewrite it my own words:

"A truly good man dies, and everybody is mystified by it.
And people who've served God all their lives die, and we moan, 'Why did they have to die?' because don't understand what's going on.
They died because God was taking them out of this evil, broken world.
The good man is finally at peace.
The godly men are resting safely after devoting themselves to God for a lifetime."
How many times, when someone dies, do we react as if a tragedy has occurred? "But they died!!" we exclaim, as if (of course) dying were the most horrific thing that could happen to anyone. That's a worldly perspective. It's not God's perspective, who orchestrates our deaths and determines our lives afterward. The Christian is delivered from a world full of: danger, evil, meanness, unkindness, uncertainty, fear. He is taken to a place of absolute safety where his needs are fully met and there's nothing to fear ... ever.

And we call that a tragedy. What's wrong with us?

A dear elderly friend said lately, "There's a lot of living going on, both here and in heaven." Her husband died unexpectedly two weeks ago. What a wonderful, clear understanding she has! When I mentioned these verses in Isaiah to her, her eyes lit up, and she knew exactly which verses I meant -- she'd been studying them too.

Her husband has been delivered from all manner of evil, and a weary life. He stepped directly from one life into the other life. He now has everything we all long for.

It's difficult to fight against the mentality of the culture that teaches us to fear death, avoid death, deny death, and treat it as the ultimate human tragedy. Christians should reject this thinking. Neither is death a friend. Death is simply a conquered enemy, lying slain on the field of humanity's battle now, these 2000 years. When a Christian passes from this living into the next living, one of the things he steps over is the limp, dry corpse of death, on that battlefield conquered by Jesus.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Smitten Week

What a week for crocheting! Last Saturday a lady at the market asked if I could make a pair of white mittens for her grandson. They'll be a gift, alongside a book she loves about a pair of white mittens. I believe she referred to this book:

I said, "Yes!"
I dug into my memory from last fall when I made a pair of child's mittens. April Draven posted this pattern on her site here. I liked this pattern because it's worked from the fingertips down. You make the hand and thumb first.
I wanted mittens for a child in about 2nd or 3rd grade, not tiny, but not adult. I adjusted the pattern a little.
Then you attach the hand and thumb and begin working around the entire piece, decreasing once. Work until it's the correct length for that size and end with some front and back post double crochets. Very nice pattern!
But before these, I was making smittens, lots of smittens. They were mail orders, so I've already sent them off to their owners, but here are the yarns I used:
 The first smittens requested were to be gray with some bit of pink trim. Vanna's Choice is a lovely, soft acrylic yarn. I ran a few slim rows of deep pink through the smittens with a slip stitch, so it wasn't too bold.
 This Impeccable was for a pair of lime green smittens. The photos washes out the color a bit.
 This was perhaps my favorite pair in the order. The lady requested a pair of smittens with teal and purple mixed, and this Simply Soft yarn was exactly to match! The yarn itself is so very soft and nice. I also had some eyelash that matches it exactly, so I was pleased with this pair.
The last request was for a pair in hot fuchsia pink, a color I'm not normally familiar with :) Julia helped me find this Homespun, which is also brighter "in person." I added a touch of white eyelash to pop the colors a little. Bright/hot colors are sparser in Michael's during the winter months. There was lots of autumnal browns, rusts, reds, and purples, and I indulged in some of these as well. Maybe in another blog post, I'll share what else I found.

Thankfully the customers reported that they were happy with these, and that makes me happy too. I'm glad to help folks keep their hands warm this winter!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Beau Beau in Repose

Oh, he is such a character! Can you see the twinkle in his eye? He was all snoozy on the couch next to me, and when I stood up, he flopped over. What a doll!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holding Onto Leaves

Do you ever wonder how tenaciously a tree holds onto its leaves? Are some weak and ready for winter, and throw them off eagerly? Here's a beauty still holding on.
This pair of trees are pretty each year.
Two days ago this tree was a brilliant yellow. Alas, I waited too long to capture its radiance, and now it's a fallen crown in the grass.
I like them in a row along a quiet street with a strip of sidewalk.
This is a sparse crepe myrtle, but the orange-red against the blue paint of the Oriental Food Emporium is striking.
We have a few zippy reds this year around town.
I found this stray leaf in our yard and rescued it. Now it sits atop the piano, and soon I'll lay it between the pages of a book. Will I find it again, or will somebody else in a few decades? We're moving books these days to the new house, and I find myself wondering when in the world I'll ever read all these books again. If I have 30 years left, and I read several each year, I still won't get through them all. And I have new ones I want to buy! Oh, dear. I hold onto my leaves tenaciously too.
In the Deep South, as I've noted before, we have winter bloomers, and camellias are a favorite. Some apparently bloom early, in November, and others wait until January. How obliging of them!
You should know that the vast majority of our forest landscape is green, much of it year round. We have pines everywhere of many varieties, and other evergreens. So our bright yellows, oranges, and reds are a real treat.
My friend Pom from Colorado says her trees are all bare now. How thankful I am to still see this color around us here in coastal Carolina.
This fellow is still struggling to let go of his green and change clothes for the season. Hurry up!
And as soon as the red jacket is put on ... poof!! It falls away. But how brilliant its moment of wonder!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Some Things New

Bartering is new to me. Should we just call it "swapping"? A lady in town makes these deliciously soothing "eye pillows." She came to my market table and loved a pair of smittens; she wore them for a few minutes, and I could tell she wanted them. "May I set them aside for you?" I asked. "Noooo," she said, disappointed, "maybe later." Then I said, "You make those wonderful eye pillows, don't you?" And quickly a swap was arranged.
Both items sell for $12. Her pillows are filled with organic flax seed, lavender blossoms, and lavender essential oil. It's the best eye pillow I've ever tried. Zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and it's warm and aromatic ~~ perfect for weary eyes before bed.
And I love the turtle design on the fabric! This fabric is only an outer slip cover. Inside, is a white cotton/muslin pouch, holding the seeds and lavender.
New boats? Why yes, we always have new boats! I was driving downtown yesterday, late for a singing engagement, and saw this boat just pulling up at the town dock. I screeched to a halt, jumped out of the van, and took a few photos as the boat owner tied up.
It's a beautiful wooden boat from Maine. I think he has a slew of boys on board. I saw one teen and a couple of younger boys. Taking your over-active, sit-in-front-of-a-screen boys on a few months of ocean sailing will knock the energy right out of 'em, I'm telling you! Anyone who has the means to do so, should try it. I'm convinced a year of sailing and living aboard would improve the disposition of any troubled boy. Boys need lots to do, and things to be in charge of.

And the last new thing is a house. A new house for us! We're moving from our duplex, which is often a bit snug (especially when the older kids are home), into a real house with THREE bedrooms, across town. It's a small, small house. The bedrooms are tiny. But what counts is that there are THREE of them - yay! Plus a little den. It will be an improvement, I think. So, here's the house:
And here's a larger photo that shows what's on the side of the house. Yes, that's right. This is Oriental, and the double bay garage is larger than the house is.
That's because in Oriental, we all know what's really important in life ~~ the BOATS!!  These are not car garages. (Notice the absence of pavement in front of them.) Sigh ... only in Oriental! Yes, I do think even the Christiansens can put all our junk in those garages, with room to spare :) Plus, the boats.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All Roads Lead to the Bean

Sunday afternoon was so glorious, so balmy and breezy and perfect. I took a bike ride.
The river sky put on a show.
How many different kinds of cloud can you see?
I pedaled to the park to find Adam and the puppies.
He sat in a chair, and had pulled another one up for me. He was waiting.
I became chilly, and he offered me his sweater. Then he asked, "Do you want to get something warm to drink at the Bean?"  The Coffee Bean. The local watering hole. The only coffee shop in our little town. So we did. We sat on their elevated porch (elevated because of regular flooding), and watched the town harbor and town dock, across the road.
There's always something happening at the town dock. Boats have free 48 hour stays at the town dock. It's a popular place for cruisers.
One boat had puppies on board that barked at everyone walking by.
Almost immediately this catamaran cruised in, but turned about and left. I think there was not room enough for him.
But then another new boat came in, a boat from Quebec with two women aboard. Adam dashed over to help them tie on to the dock.
Then he stood and chatted with his buddy, Jim.
Soon another power boat backed into a slip at the marina.
And then another power boat. This marina is popular on the weekend. Adam and I chatted quite a bit with a couple at the Bean. They'd been living aboard for three weeks, and had come down the ICW and were in Oriental until they repaired their engine. They were sailors with a view to the long haul, having sold everything in St. Louis, left their jobs, and headed out to sea.
Here are the three sailboats tied up at the town dock (well, two on the dock, and one on the side). They are neighbors for a day. Sailors are friendly and rely on each other. In only a few minutes, this is what we saw on the dock:
They will chat, swap stories, beer, wine, food, meet pets, help with repairs, give advice, and exchange email addresses. When your home is in a state of constant motion, it's good to make ready friends. A dock like this is a temporary neighborhood, and sooner or later, they all come to the Bean for coffee.