Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stormy and me...

"Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?" - Marcel Marceau

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Isn't She Lovely"...

Look at these girls... That's my little Bran on the left and that's Christa on the right. Christa is my niece, my brother's daughter. Bran and Christa are about 3 years apart, Bran being the older of the two. They've been buds forever. It's a funny little relationship; Bran's like a little mother to Christa and Christa simply adores Bran (but then who doesn't, says the proud Mama!).

When we were back home a couple of weeks ago we did a little shopping - and horsing around - in "Horse Country" ( This is a LOVELY (terribly overpriced) specialty shop in the heart of horse country, Warrenton, Virginia. We go in every now and then to drool over the lovelies and visit with the shop hounds. We stopped in this time in order to get Jess a few treats; a new brush and a new halter - isn't he handsome?

They say God has a great sense of humor. I'd have to agree because I really think I was supposed to be born with a silver spoon in my mouth, a spread for hunters/jumpers in the heart of horse country, a mint julip in my hand, an annual box seat at the Kentucky derby and a closet full of hats that would make the queen green with envy... oh well, Bear Creek, NC will simply have to do.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oops, I did it again...

It's official, I completed the inaugural Tar Heel 10 Miler on Saturday April 26th with the official time of 1:52:29! Yeah me!! My only question for the course designer - - WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! The race STARTED and ENDED with two challenging hills - just look at this...

Yep, this is mile ten and we're running up this mother-load hill!! I so tried to pass this guy! When we reached the top of the hill we took a right into a parking lot and wound through some stancions to where the finish line was. I pushed and pushed and I know this guy heard me coming up behind him 'cause he poured on a little extra, too! In the end, I wasn't able to pass him! That's okay, though. I'm sure it helped me knock off a second or two of my final time.

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful course. It wound all through Chapel Hill and downtown Carborro and all through some very older, established neighborhoods. The views were breathtaking. Maybe if I hadn't been admiring peoples' landscaping and architecture I would've been even quicker to finish! And I would've loved to have stopped and listened closer and enjoyed the man playing his banjo in his front yard - but I did have someplace to be (yep, a man in his front yard in a lawn chair playing his banjo and singing like a bird - it IS Chapel Hill after all!).

One perk to this race, my husband is a cop in Chapel Hill. As such, we parked the car in the PD parking lot and I got a personal escort (okay, so I had to ride in the back of a police patrol car) to the starting line! I LOVED IT!!! And when I was done, I was picked up and delivered back to my vehicle. Isn't having connections great! The only downside was that Mike was not able to run this race with me. He's still recovering from his - well, you know, - his hiney surgery. But he did feel well enough to go with me and stand along the sidelines encouraging me on! I saw him at mile 3 and at the end at about 9.5 miles. It's our plan to try to run this together next year - as long as I'm able to walk!

I don't have another race planned for the immediate future so I'll be on the hunt - don't want to get lazy. I did see on the news Saturday night that there's a woman in Cary or Raleigh that's started a beginners Triathelon (swimming, biking and running). From what I heard it sounded very "user/beginner" friendly. It may be too late for me to train my body for biking and swimming this year but at least I'm aware of it and could maybe prepare for next year. It's so very important to have personal goals, wouldn't you agree?

(, you'd think those hips would be a lot more slender with all this running...what's up with that?!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A picture's worth a thousand words

Some of my fondest memories are of being at "the barn". I made my monthly pilgrimage there this last weekend where Brandi snapped this shot - I love it... What you don't see is Dave's granddaughter in his lap. Madison was born in November 2006, 8 months after her father Matt, Dave's son, was killed in a car accident - just up the road from the barn. While Madison will never know her dad, she will know the love and support of her family, especially from Dave & Sherry, and it's my prayer that she, too, will have fond memories of "the barn". Looks like she's well on her way...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Two Chairs, at least...

I am a worrier. I am a closet worrier - I stress internally and quietly and rarely share my concerns with friends and family (much to the chagrin of my hair...turning grey and getting very thin). As many of you know, I've been out of work since February 1. I was certain that within 45 days everything would be "back to normal". It's not... And it's not for lack of effort, there's been plenty of that and there have even been numerous interviews and healthy, positive meetings. But for one reason or another I have not engaged in the perfect fit - yet. My faith and my patience have been, and continue to be, put to the test.

This message does relate to my picture posting this morning. And in the event you can't enlarge the photo and read the caption, it says , "The finest furnishings for a country house aspire to welcome, not impress. Let there be art to nourish the soul: paintings, poetry and music. Let there be flowers to remind us of our connection with nature: daffodils in the spring, roses in June. And let there be two chairs, at least: one for you, one for me."

I know that we will be alright and that the right employment opportunity will come to me according to God's will and plan...but I can't help but worry. However, whenever I encounter a particularly difficult time in my life, I refer to this message because it is my plan, no matter how dire my life may one day end up (and we NEVER know what the future holds), I will ALWAYS have two chairs, at least, one for you, one for me...

(*note - scanned photo from Country Living magazine, date unknown, photography by Caroline Arber).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Have I told you lately that I love you?

North Carolina, that is...home

Oh my goodness...the trip from hell. I had to fly to Newark, NJ Friday for a job interview. Going from Raleigh to Newark is an easy hop, skip and jump - a mere hour and a few mintues each way. I left super early so as to arrive in plenty of time for my interview and scheduled my return flight home MANY hours after my interview time because Newark if FAMOUS for stacking their flights and making the planes sit for hours on the tarmac waiting for a clear runway.

Everything went seamlessly...until I got to the airport, checked the monitor and learned that my 5:25 flight home was CANCELLED! My heart sank. I've never experienced a canceled flight before and wasn't sure what to do. Oh, and did I mention I was flying American Airlines! Yeah, I see you shaking your head at me in that "you should've known better, Joyce" gesture! The story is too long to tell here - you'd be reading for hours. The short version took planes, trains and automobiles for me to get home - SATURDAY evening!! I did say this was supposed to be a day trip, right? Meaning no change of clothes...I did, however, have my toothbrush because I planned on brushing my teeth right before the interview (never interview with coffee breath). And that's the truth - I took the Acel speedy train from Newark to Washington, DC. Took the Metro from DC into Springfield, VA where my parents picked me up. I stayed the night with my folks (thank God for them) and then pleaded with American Airlines Saturday morning to fly me from DC back to Raleigh. If I never go to New Jersey again it'll be too soon.

I think it's official...I think I can now say I'm from the south...and boy oh boy, do I LOVE North Carolina!!!

There's no place like home (click, click)!

"One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning." - James Russell Lowell

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh my bleeding heart...

Spring time is like Christmas for me. Every time a plant, shrub, bush blooms and awakens to another season, it's like a present being opened! Such is the case for my pink bleeding heart.
(Oh how I wish I could take better pictures!!!!)

This guy is a survivor in the truest sense of the word. It lives in the corner in front of my porch and next to the porch steps. The porch steps are open underneath and on the sides and the cats go under the porch to cool off in the summer heat, to get away from each other (as all siblings like to do) or to protect themselves from something that really isn't there... And with all this going in and out, the little bleeding heart is stomped, trampled and rolled on. And yet, every year it stands strong and beautiful and reminds me of the tenacity of mother nature.

As much as I love this plant, I wish it had a different name..."bleeding heart" is so sad for such a beautiful bush.

"A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues." - Cicero

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Look what I can do...

Make a vintage pincushion. Vintage because it's glued into an antique Ball Jar tin lid. My bud Cathy and I took this little wool applique class yesterday and had a sweet time. There were all sorts of wool pieces to pick from and the four pincushions that the four of us made each came out completely different - a representation, I'm sure, of each of our personalities.

One of my favorite hot spots is The Rusty Bucket ( in Apex, NC. Sharon Stewart is a part time employee there who offers a variety classes including beginning embroidery, wool applique, card making, scrapbooking and how to decorate your home in a primitive way. Sometimes I wonder why God gives so much talent to some people (Sharon) and none to others (me)! Maybe it's to see if Sharon will SHARE her talents with others! And she does...unselfishly and graciously and with the patience of a saint (except when you're trying to thread a needle - that's something she just can't sit by and watch!).

Because I'm not a seamstress in any way, I've decided to put my little pin cushion on my little desk and I'll put a few pretty push pins in it (when not being used in my bulletin board above my desk). How lucky am I to have learned something new...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Meet my buds

Are we a trio or what?! These are my Carolina buddies and I love them. That's Linda on the left in the pink and Miss Cathy on the right in the purple. I wish you were fortunate enough to meet them. Linda reminds me that faith is all I need and Cathy's taught me (and she doesn't even know it) that laughter makes EVERYTHING feel better... thanks girls.

This picture was taken just about a month ago in Greensboro, NC. We made a road trip together to a "tea house" (boy, did they miss the mark) and made a few stops along the way. You know, it really doesn't matter where you are but, instead, who you're with. And I'd be happy being anywhere with these buds of mine...

"The distance doesn't matter; it is only the first step that is difficult". Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Jesus and Gravity"

"One to lift me up and one to keep me grounded...Jesus and gravity...that's all I need". Miss Dolly Parton is full of mountain wisdom, is she not?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It pays to clean

Once I turn the calendar to April the cats scatter, the dog retreats to her bed upstairs and my husband finds anywhere to be besides home. April means deep cleaning for me. It means pulling out the stove and the refrigerator. It means clearing everything off the kitchen counters, scrubbing them down and putting everything back, in a different place of course. It means emptying drawers and cabinets to see what can stay and what needs to go. Of course, being out of work allows PLENTY of time for this gala! Yesterday marked the first day of this cleaning frenzy.

Every since living on my own I've always had a "thing" for using placemats. It may have started when I purchased my first "big girl" dining room table and chairs (which I still have). I was so proud and wanted to keep that table "perfect" for as long as I could. So, placemats were down or you didn't eat. After Bran, as a little toddler, accidentally spilled a bottle of nail polish remover on my table I wasn't wound as tight over this table anymore. But I kept my love for placemats. Today, I'm still always on the lookout for these little individual "table cloths" and I have a nice collection as a result. And lately, I'm like an addict on meth over cotton napkins! OH-MY- GOSH~~~~ I CANNOT get enough of the cotton napkins! And, preferably, I want my placemats and napkins to match or at least correspond! I share this little history lesson about my obsession with you because it does relate to my KP event yesterday. I was cleaning out the drawer that holds the placemats currently in use - I was packing up the "winter" mats and replacing them with pretty "spring" ones. In the far back of the drawer I found a package with a sticker saying "valance". What a surprise...

Look at this sweet little valance. Isn't it PERFECT for spring time? And I couldn't believe the amount of light it let through compared to the heavy ticking fabric valance I had up there before. I have no idea where this little beauty came from or how long I've had it. But I sure am glad I discovered it!

I don't know what the little flower is but I think it's oh so sweet and the little curtain frames the little window perfectly! Ahh...spring