Monday, July 28, 2014

Somebody Had a Birthday ...

This young lady had a birthday this past week. She's pretty seriously introverted, and doesn't enjoy crowds of people. Parties wear her out. So we had a low-key birthday, which she enjoyed. We dropped by the local thrift store and she picked up this cute top and shorts, plus an adorable pair of lime-green sandals. $6 total, which was nice on my pocketbook.
We also got her all her favorite facial supplies at Walmart, which might not sound like much of a birthday present, but it's what she wanted. "No cheap junk from Dollar General, Mom," she said. So we went to Wally's. Haha! The rest of her birthday cash she's saving carefully, planning on a laptop in the fall. Well ... she's not saving it. I'm hiding it for her in my bedroom, so she won't spend it.
Okay, and instead of a cake, she wanted a batch of homemade donuts.  Here's the recipe. It's Martha Stewart's recipe.
Julia wanted to do the cutting.
Don't turn your oil up too hot. Other times I've done that, and you end up with over-cooked donuts. It was about perfect this time on a low-medium heat.

They are truly fabulous. Only 1/2 cup of sugar in the actual dough. Six egg yolks, so the dough is lovely yellow.
Adam made a pot of fresh coffee, and we called it dinner. Donuts are rather naughty ... and filling.
Later Julia and I biked over to the Bean for a treat. I wanted to round out the fun on her special day.
She got a chocolate shake and I got a mango/vegetable smoothie, trying to be healthy. She hates when I do selfies together, but she can't turn me down when it's her birthday. I just put on that Sad Mommy Face and remind her how lonely I'll be when she leaves home and I have only her old photos to keep me company. Sniff.
This cracked us up -- a clever way to increase tipping at the coffee shop! Just appeal to the natural competition between the genders!
I was standing there, dissatisfied because the women were losing by a few bucks. So I did what any good woman would do. I took a few bills from the men's jar and put them into the women's jar. The gregarious teenaged boy behind the counter smiled and told me that men will take a five out of the men's jar and replace it with five one-dollar-bills, to fill out their jar. But the women? They do what I did. Haha!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Little Cottage Progresses

Do you recall when I posted about the little cottage in the heart of Oriental that someone had decided to redo? I showed you the domicile after they'd stripped the ugly siding.
They hoisted it up and rolled it around.
It was rather pitiful. The building seems hardly worth saving, but the location? Ahh -- to die for. If one small lot could be considered the heart-of-the-heart of the old village, this small pie-wedge would be it.
It's not on the water, but hardly any houses in old Oriental village are. Only a handful -- say, five or six houses -- are actually directly on the water. They are large and old. And not all of them have docks; can you believe it? When I speak of the old Oriental village however, I'm not referring to all the houses in the city limits. The old village is about twenty or thirty blocks clustered near the river, near the town dock, near the Bean and the Oriental Yacht Club.
Well, lately much has been happening to this cottage. As you see above, they've hiked it off the ground.
And they've brought in cement block.
They're building nice brick columns around the foundation, indicating plenty of porch on at least two sides.
And I'm so happy to tell you that they've decided to turn the house the right way -- it will face this point, toward us as we look at this shot below. So the view from the front porch will be the long front lawn, looking at that lovely clump of live oak trees there.
During Hurricane Arthur, precautions had to be taken for the "precautionary room" (as my mother calls it), on the job site. You don't want to be flown off by a wind while having a private moment! You could end up like Dorothy in Oz!
The most recent photo of the cottage shows an addition atop. When in a floody area, build up! Perhaps you can also see that the inside has been gutted now. I'm eager to see how this home finishes up.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What I've Missed ~

Flipping through my Iphoto pics, there are so many little things I've meant to share with you, dear readers. So ... in no particular order ... here goes:
A teacup and two saucers that I picked up in Lewisburg, WV at an antique market. The set was originally $12.50, but it was marked down 70%. What a steal!
 Beautiful blue-and-white, which I love,
 I love the shape of the cup,
 And Japanese!
Next up, a little cousin fun. I took the available older cousins to Bear Town while I was in West Virginia. Bear Town is a massive array of large rock formations in rural WV near Droop Mountain.

 My nephew Honor ~

 And Katie ~
 And Hannah ~
 They had fun, and so did I.
I also picked blueberries, of course, at Max and Anne's farm. That's the look of yummy-and-healthy.
 I tied a bucket around my waist. It was late afternoon when the berry rows were empty of customers.
 I slipped under the protective nets and found a quiet row waiting for me.

 Tonight we'll enjoy blueberry scones and blueberry muffins, thanks to my time there.
What's next? How about lunch with some family before I left town? Here I am with my oldest brother Max. 7 years apart, but close in heart.
 My brother Mark and his darling wife ~
 My folks with Julia ~
 We ate at Stella's in Lewisburg. The food was very good, a little froo-froo, but I prefer that to greasy! It was pretty on the plate and tasted light and healthy. I think this was my plate (I've rather forgotten ...), but I had something with shrimp and grits, and I swapped with Mother and got some of her crab and avocado.
Are you still reading? How about a few random photos of humans? Not just any humans ....
Here are my parents with an assortment of grandchildren. That's Clark, Ben, Nathan, Hannah, Julia, Abraham, and Katie.
 I got to meet Hannah's boyfriend, Michael. They look good together.
 When you tell a group of teenaged nieces-and-nephews you want their picture, you get this:
 When you tell a younger crowd, you get something lovely like this:
 My brother Marshall relaxing in his parents' living room ~
 My brother Mark's definition of relaxation ~ You can see that we "kids" have made ourselves right at home before our parents have even settled in! No, seriously, it is lovely to have them there, and they do always make us so welcome. Mark has been working on their house, so he has good reason for napping.
 These three munchkins showed us all that they learned in a week-long kids' workshop in Lewisburg. Pretty neat! They learned to weave!
 My mother and I visited the quiet bakery in Lewisburg. We were only a little naughty. I must admit, going to Lewisburg with her is just about as pleasant as going to Brevard! Next time, we must stop at the library.
 JoAnn in a selfie! Who would have thought? Isn't she a doll?
Do I have anything else I must show you? Is anybody still there?
Here is a candle that my sister-in-law DeVona gave me:
I'm sorry I forgot to take its photo until after I'd lit the three wicks, then quickly blown them out, so the wicks are black. But they are the most beautiful things -- you want to eat them rather badly, and they smell edible too. Mine is cherry, Julia's was raspberry, and Mother's blueberry. DeVona has a lovely candle workshop and sells her goods and ships them. She does such perfect work.
Oh, I'm adding this photo of the house Philip is living in with a few other post-college friends -- just because, 20 years from now, we'll wish we had a picture of this place! His first residence away from home! It's in a rather sad part of Chattanooga. He says they let the weeds grow out front to discourage thieves.
Oh, how 'bout a little antique store humor?
I must show you my favorite aspect of my parents' new house -- the heat vent that goes from the kids' bedroom down to the living room.
 I know it's silly, but I love this! You can be a little kid (as I once was) and quietly kneel next to this grill in your room (as I did years ago in my uncle's upstairs bathroom) and listen to conversations the grown-ups are having below in the living room (or in the kitchen, in my uncle's house). It's delicious.
My uncle and aunt stayed in an old, historic home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, decades ago, called Federal Hill. It had many secrets. I think they were caretakers of the property, but with seven children and various pets, and visiting family like us, we probably wore away more layers of history than we preserved! You can read a little about Federal Hill at the bottom of this page, with its resident ghost.
What else? Here's a sweet shot of my mother's kitties, asking for breakfast.
If you made it to the end, you're a trooper :)