Fiction Kitchen

Joy and I met with my sisters and niece for dinner last night.  My niece is a vegan who cheerfully finds something to eat at carnivore restaurants.  But last night she had suggested that we meet at a vegan restaurant of which she had heard.  I liked that Fiction Kitchen focused on locally grown produce.  I’m very big on the farm to table concept.

Fiction Kitchen surprised with the beauty of the food presentation and the artistry of the menu.  I can’t imagine any omnivore being disappointed by the presentation, aroma, or flavor of these dishes – and as a group we tried just about everything on the menu.  We even sampled all three desserts.

There was a free concert going on across the street and it was Raleigh’s First Friday with open tours of galleries and free wine, beer, and finger food.  Parking was a little scarce but the street scene was hopping.  With the police out directing traffic on many intersections one had a great sense of safety, too.  Joy and I had a lot of fun just walking around enjoying Raleigh after we said good-bye to the rest of the family.

February Comes to Oak Island

Okay, if you’re one of those people who think that you do not want to go to the beach in the wintertime, you need to look at this video. Check out the cool stuff that Joy found along the beach as we went for short walk. The shell is a huge horseshoe crab shell. We haven’t figured out with the coral-looking object was. From doing an image search on Google, we think it is some kind of kelp. Anybody know?

Saturday was cooler, but today the sun is so bright one has to squint to look out the window at the waves crashing, the shrimp boat passing, and the sea gulls feasting. Every day here we love it more.

Remember to click on the picture to see a slideshow.

North Carolina Aquarium

Joy and I decided that we would visit the North Carolina aquarium at Fort Fisher. It was a short ferry ride from neighboring Southport. If you are in the area of Southport or Oak Island or Kure Beach, you definitely want to go visit this aquarium. While it may not be as large or extensive has the aquariums at Long Beach or Monterey Bay in California, it offers many wonderful exhibits and provides entertaining environmental education programs for kids. I saw kids petting sharks, stingrays, and horseshoe crabs. They had more nerve than I did. I dare you to do it.

Here is an eight or nine minute video to give you a taste of what it was that we saw.

A Walk on the Beach

Joy and I enjoyed a walk down “our” beach Sunday morning. We saw ghost crabs, schools of mullets, the sun rising over the Ocean Crest Pier, and bunches of dolphins. The video includes both still images and video clips to share a little taste of life on Oak Island, NC. Join us for a walk down Long Beach.

2012 Labor Day on “Our” Island

Joy and I had reserved a week at our rental property. Mom and Dad called a couple of days before we left and surprised us with their being able to join us for the week. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, my niece and her fiance were able to join us for the last couple of days of the week.

The TV that came with it when we bought the house was a color TV.  You could see the picture in green or in blue.  So, our first order of business was to install the new TV.  (The only internet we had was my iPad as a hot spot.)

We ate out a few nights.  One night we ate at The Flying Fish down by the Oak Island Pier.  It was cool enough to sit out on the deck in the open air by the beach volleyball court.  Dad and I came back to the Flying Fish to meet the guys for beer on Wednesday afternoon.  My friends passed the “my Dad likes them” test – just like I knew they would.  Shagger’s was our second meal and I think it was everyone’s favorite.  Get the fries cone with Old Bay seasoning.  The third meal outing was to go to the Provision Company in nearby Southport.  We ate looking out over the boat slips to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.  We enjoyed all the restaurants, but there are several more I want to share with my parents.

But our best meal time was just chillin’ on the back deck with our breakfast, watching the waves roll in. Hanging with Mom, Dad, and Joy and an ocean breeze is just about as relaxing.

Joy did a morning constitutional every day.  Usually, she walked east to the Ocean Crest pier.  But one morning she decided to head west.  Good thing, too.  She happened to see the very last of 75 turtle babies make its crawl to the sea.  And she got some great shots with her cell phone.

While Joy was walking, I was “surfing”.  (If you’ve ever seen me surf, you’ll understand the quotation marks.)  I caught at least one wave every day.  I had so much fun I decided it was time to take her in for ding repairs.  Now my made-in-Hawaii board will be re-made by an Oak Island shaper and carry two of my favorite places out to the sea with me every time I paddle out.

But when Jack used my board it did things I never imagined that it could do.  That man really surfs.  He and Ruth even caught some waves together, when she took a break from boogie boarding.

All told, I think everyone had a great time.  Hard not to have a great time when, every time you stand up, you see the waves rolling in to the shore.

Easter 2012

As always, we enjoyed our Easter gathering at Aunt Susie’s. There was a lot of good food, including the jello salad Susie made from Grandmother’s recipe.

But, of course, what we really look forward to is just having the family gathered together. Dr. Steel, Will, Alex, Cassandra, Sera, and Shelby were sorely missed. We had fond and wistful thoughts of you (as we ate your share of the food).

Mr. and Mrs. Whiteman (102 and 100 years of age respectively) were the stars of the gathering and we were honored to have them with us. We had a new fiance, Pat, and girlfriend, Alex, with us. Welcome.

But will the mystery of the missing Barbie egg ever be solved?


2011 Thanksgiving

Janet, thank you again for hosting us. Your home was beautifully decorated and your hospitality was appreciated by us all.

It was wonderful to have so many gathered and we missed those who couldn’t join us.

Click on the picture to see a slideshow or the caption to look at individual pictures. I also took a little video snippet to remind us of the happy sound of our family gathered.

We also had a great time in Cranberry with the “kids” there. Thanks Lindsay for hosting us for dinner and Bobby for breakfast Thanksgiving morning.

We look forward to having everyone together for Christmas

Pullen Park Reopens

Closed in 2010 for renovations, historic Pullen Park in Raleigh, NC reopened today. Founded in 1887 this 68 acre park is one of many reasons Raleigh is considered one of the best cities in America to live. The City of Oaks is a city with an abundance of charming parks. But if you like a little nostalgic charm with your park, you’ll love the 1911 carousel. We had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Parr who had lovingly hand painted the animals on the carousel. Beautifully done, Lisa. Not enough? How about a cute little train you can ride around the scenic lake and park grounds? See it all in the video. Then plan your trip to the 16th oldest park in America.


Caswell Beach, NC

What’s better than a beach? A beach with friends. This weekend the Walshes graciously hosted us at their new beach house. Caswell Beach is located just below the mouth of the Cape Fear River between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. I appreciated that the homes on Caswell Beach were behind the dunes and not sitting right on the water. If you’ve got three minutes to chill with me, check out some of the fun and food we had as well as some scenes from the beautiful beach.

Beautiful Weekend

As the weather cools, North Carolina becomes a wonderful place to be out on the water. This morning was no different. I took the boat to the far end of the lake. A friend told me there was a dead tree where an osprey was hanging out down there. I bopped on down. No osprey. I started shooting pictures and zigging and zagging my way back. Nearly back to the dock, an osprey flies overhead. I pull out my camera, hit zoom, and see the low battery warning just before the LCD goes black. Looks like the hunt will continue.

Later in the morning, Joy and Moku went with us on the boat. After his back surgery he isn’t allowed to jump. After I tied off the stern line I opened the gate to pick Moku up and put him on the dock. He wasn’t having it and squirted past me only to fall in the water between the boat and the dock. He had to swim under the dock and over to the “beach” on the other side to get out. He is fine, but Joy and I are both recovering from heart attacks.