Friday, September 28, 2012


Mike and I went to the Outer Banks a few days ago.  It is fun to visit the OBX once the kids go back to school and fewer folks are taking vacations.

We stayed at a lovely old B&B in Wanchese called the Island House of Wanchese.  Mike and I spent a lot of time in Manteo.  It was great spending time just talking to folks we had never met.  We found several people that were on "beach time" and had some great conversations!  I did not agree with all they had to say, but that didn't matter.  I like hearing other people's opinions and figuring out how they came to have them! 

This is the beach at Ocean Waves Campground.  We use to camp there a lot when Heather and Greg were younger.  We were surprised at how much the sandy beach area has increased!  The sea oats aren't doing bad, either!

After a new inlet appeared after a storm last year, the Army Corp of Engineers built this new makeshift bridge on Hwy 12!

They were having a surfing competition at the pier.  I don't think the waves were as large as the surfers needed!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cold Mountain, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Blood Done Wrote My Name, etc.

So, what do all these books have in common?  A couple of things actually!

1.  They were books that became films.
2.  The authors have (or did) live in North Carolina.
3.  The authors of these books were all at the Literary Homecoming at East Carolina University this past
     weekend (and the list of books above does not include all the authors that attended!)

I was at the event Friday night and Saturday.  What fun it was to listen to the authors of these books plus many more!  Some of the writers were subdued, one especially outspoken, one a little eccentric. . .

At lunch, the author of The Big Fish, read letters he would leave under his mother's bedroom door when he was 17.  If she woke up, she would know he had made it home.  The letters became little stories about the relationship between Brenda and her boyfriend, Lee.  As he read us the pages his mom had kept about Brenda and Lee, the audience couldn't stop laughing!!

I took a couple of writing workshops that were taught by James Dodson and Lois Duncan.  They both shared some great tips about writing.

Except for lunch, the event(s) were free.  It was an enjoyable night and day listening to their tales, hearing their insights about films and writing, and learning about their personalities.

Can't wait until next year!

This picture is of Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.  It has nothing to do with the event this past weekend, except that Charles Frazier said that he would meet with people at this inn when they discussed filming Cold Mountain!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Greg!

My middle child, Greg, turned 30 today.  So, he is no longer a child.  However, I enjoy looking at his childhood pictures.  He always had a smile and  usually you could see his dimples!  In most pictures, he is goofing off or looking very mischievous! 

When he was a baby at daycare, a television crew came by to take pictures to advertise their channel.  Greg was the only one that would give them a big smile, therefore, he was the only child at the daycare to be in their commercial.  Mike's grandmother loved this commercial and would always tell us when she spotted Greg on tv.

Today, he seems much more serious but still has a great smile!  Happy Birthday, Greg!

                                                  Greg with his nieces, Madison and Brianna

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pear Jam

My son-in-law, Anthony, gave us some pears from his grandparents' tree. His grandmother has a recipe for pear jam that he said was delicious.  He, also, gave me a copy of her recipe.

The recipe indicates that the jam be cooked for three hours, but his grandmother cooks her jam for six.

So, last night was jam night for Mike and me!  I got home from work and Mike had already cut most of the pears and had them in the pot.  He decided to add a little water so the pear slices wouldn't turn brown.

We weren't sure how much the pears weighed.  Also, the recipe indicated using 5 pounds of sugar plus two cups.  Since we figured we were using about half the pears, we intended to reduce our ingredients by half.  However, we knew we did not have five pounds of sugar in our container, so we guessed and poured it into our jam.

In a few minutes, the pot was totally filled with water (since Mike had added water and then the pears created their own juice.)  We removed some of the water.

As you can see, we don't worry too much about precision!

Our pear jam cooked about 3 1/2 hours but I was worried that the mixture was still too loose.  So, I called Anthony to ask him how his jam looked just before he put it in jars.  When I told him what we had done (adding water - I didn't tell him about the vast amount of guessing of ingredients that went on!!), there was dead silence on the other end of the phone.  We really shocked him with our cooking abilities : (

So, we cooked the jam a while longer before putting it into the jars.

Our taste test went well - I'll go home and open a jar tonight to see if I have jam or pear soup!

I consider it another life adventure!