Friday, October 14, 2016

Our Red Hat Party

Ready to party.  L to R: Ann, me, Gail, Pat W., Peggy, Sally

After spending most of Tuesday visiting Museums, the Capitol, and the Legislative Building, my friends and I topped off the day with a limo drive to Relish Café for dinner as we donned our red hats and wore purple. 

To begin the evening, we "posed" for pictures in our red hats. 

L to R: Peggy, Gail, Pat W, me, Ann, Sally
As we were posing out on the front porch, our limo arrived.  I had arranged with Dwight of Smith Luxury Limosines in Raleigh to pick us up.  It was a surprise to my friends and it was the first limo ride anyone of us had taken.  (Back when we got married limos for the bride and groom were not usual.).
We found it was a little difficult for us "seniors" to get in and out of the limo.  Lots of laughs with that. 

Mark helping us get into the limo.  

Mark our limo driver first took us on a tour of downtown Raleigh and then over to Relish Café where we had dinner. 
Selfie of Peggy and me in limo. 
Dressed a bit casual for a ride in a limo.
Dinner at Relish Café.
A trip to Local Fresh on Glenwood Avenue after dinner for ice cream was a must, even though it was a bit chilly.  The ice cream was as good as always. 
Gail and Sally in line for ice cream.

Getting back in limo after ice cream at Local Fresh.

But all good things come to an end.  My friends went back to their homes in Shelby on Wednesday morning. 
Boarding AMTRAK for trip back to Charlotte and Shelby. 

We had FUN, and we are already planning an adventure for next year!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Visit From Shelby Friends

AMTRAK  arriving from Charlotte with my friends on board.

On Monday three of my long time friends (since first grade) Ann, Pat W. and Peggy along with two new friends (I met them last year while visiting Peggy) Gail and Sally boarded AMTRAK in Charlotte and came for a visit. 
Pat W. is first off the train. 

I met them at the Cary Station and Ann's son, Andy, who works in Cary surprised Ann by being there to greet the group too. 

Ann surprised by her son Andy as Sally and Peggy on left look on. 

After a brief rest at my house, we set off for an afternoon at the Raleigh Arboretum.  The weather was perfect and there were lots of pretty fall flowers in bloom there. 
At the Arboretum.  L to R: Gail, Pat W, Peggy, Ann, me, Sally
Ann admires "sculpture" at the Arboretum.

Pretty fall asters. 

We had a light and late lunch at the Neomonde Bakery where they were introduced to Mediterranean cuisine. 

Back home for a short rest, and then we took off for a short visit to Crabtree Valley Mall.  We were all pretty tired by then.

Supper of chili at my house finished off a fun day with these friends.  I had made a cranberry, apple cake for dessert. 
Cramberry Apple  cake for dessert. 

After much catching up and reliving old times we were "plum tuckered out" and ready for bed and rest to be ready for a full day of adventures on Tuesday. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Dinner Detective

My friend Jeanette and I were gadding about last Saturday night when we went to a Dinner Detective in Chapel Hill at the Sheraton (what used to be The Europa).   It was my first time to attend one of these dinners where the guests try to guess who the culprit is when a murder is committed. 

We were greeted with a sign.

An acting troupe in Chapel Hill offers these dinners rather frequently.  I really didn't know what to expect.  But it was a lot of fun.  The actors were quite good.   The food wasn't bad either.

There was a nice selection of appetizers.
A lovely cheese and fruit tray of appetizers.

Salads and drinks were at the tables.  I was about half way through my salad when they suggested we get up and go around and question folks we might suspect was the murderer.  When I returned the waiter had removed my salad.  I was sorry that I hadn't finished it. 
The table was beautifully set with our salads and our drinks. 

At one point Jeanette had a clue under her chair, so she had to get up and was questioned about why she was not sharing the clue with the whole crowd.  She was opening it to show to our table which was a no no. 

Jeanette is being scolded because she was opening the "clue" to share with our table.

A number of attendees were questioned during the show and the fellow who was playing the detective was quite funny and was very good at adlibbing. 

The detective is questioning one of the guests, the man in the yellow shirt. 

We had a choice of a chicken dish or salmon.  I chose the salmon and it was beautifully prepared.  Very tasty. 
Delicious fillet of salmon with rice pilaf and carrots.
And of course there was dessert, a carrot cake.
Carrot cake for dessert.

Neither Jeanette nor I guessed correctly who the murderer was, but it was a fun evening filled with laughter.  
Photo of Jen and me as we entered the room.  They gave me a prop!

As we entered, our photos were taken in one case with me having a weapon.  I look very dangerous, don't I?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Culinary Delights in Cape Breton

Coconut cream pie from the Cedar House.
Whenever I spend time in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, I always enjoy the good food---both at home and at restaurants.  Here are some culinary treats we had on my most recent trip. 

For dinner down on the waterfront in Halifax, we shared an order of steamed mussels as an appetizer. And for the first dinner out at the house I made steamed mussels as the main dish.
Steamed mussels, a real treat in Cape Breton.

I poached a salmon from which I made a salmon salad.  I simply added mayonnaise, boiled eggs, and diced tomatoes. 
Poached salmon

Salmon salad with asparagus, avocado and deviled eggs.  (Photo by Becky Mangum)
The best salmon though was the planked salmon that Laura and Anthony made.  These were made in the oven since we didn't have a grill handy.  So moist and flavorful. 
Salmon cooked in oven on cedar and maple planks.
Laura made a blueberry crisp served with maple-walnut ice cream for dessert after this meal of planked salmon.
Blueberry crisp with maple-walnut ice cream.

For girls' night out eight of us went over to the Clovis Hitch in Port Hood for dinner.  We shared their special brownie as a dessert.  We each had 2 spoonsful.  The brownie was made with dark chocolate and topped with vanilla ice cream and a raspberry sauce.  Very rich and very delicious.
Brownie from the Clovis Hitch in Port Hood.

Of course a trip to Cape Breton is never complete without a meal at the Cedar House. 
Tea biscuits with butter at the Cedar House.

Three of us shared this coconut cream pie for dessert.

We took Cedar House oatcakes home with us for snacks later in the week
Cedar House oatcakes with butter.  A real treat.

Yes indeed, there are many opportunities in Cape Breton to enjoy the food.

Friday, August 26, 2016

NO COTTON In Them Old Cotton Fields Back Home

This is what my Grandparents cotton field looked like in the 50s.

This past week I was back in Cleveland County where I grew up, and I drove by what was my Grandparents' farm when I was a kid .  The property is now owned by someone else, I'm not sure who, and the house seems to be in good shape, but not currently occupied. 

Cotton fields before the cotton is "ripe".

Grandma's house facing west.  The three windows upstairs is the bedroom where I would sometimes spend the night.
The front of Grandma's house. 
I actually lived next door to my Grandma's, but I spent a lot of time visiting with her in that house.  Back in the 50s her farm, about 50 acres, was planted mainly in cotton.  The land was tended by a family whose daughter was one of my best friends growing up.  My father did not farm, so I didn't have to pick cotton, but I did pick cotton for the tenants and got paid for doing so.  I actually liked to pick cotton, something none of my friends understood.  (I suppose if I had had to pick, maybe I wouldn't have enjoyed it so much.  But I liked getting PAID.) 

Those old cotton fields back home are now "planted" with solar panels.  It has been turned into a solar farm.  I understand that the landowner gets about $500 to $600 per acre for leasing the land.  Not bad since there's no work involved for the "farmer". 
Cotton now replaced with solar panel farm. 

But I was more than a bit sad to see the farm used this way and to see the area grown up in weeds otherwise.  My grandparents always had a beautiful lawn out front and the property was kept in pristine shape.  No more. 

The trip back to Cleveland County was a bit nostalgic, and Thomas Wolfe was right.  'You can't go home again."