Monday, May 31, 2010

DeAr SqUiRRel

DeAr SqUiRRel,

I sEe YoU haNgiNg oFf the sIde of mY hOUse... teaSIng me. I ParSNip, need yoU to knoW thaT i hAve blAck bElt in karaTe anD wiLl taKe yOu doWn in oNe sWipE.....if i cOuld jUSt gEt oFf thIs pOrCh.

I haVe mAny impReSsive aBiliTies. I cAn rUn a 100 yArd dAsH in a 10x10 spAce. I cAn do raPid fiGure 8's aRouNd a huMaN's legs wHile meoWing. I caN emPty aN auTomAtic feeDer iN unDer 10 mInuTes. and i cAn fit in aNy tInY caBineT or drAweR.

So vEry afRaiD. WheN I gEt out oF tHis pRisOn, I am coMinG aFter yOu.


parsnip the cat
From the window, I saw parsnip jump straight up the air about 5 feet. And then he got into his hunting position which is a very still crouch. Then he proceeded to enter a staring contest with a squirrel that had taken residence on the side of our house.

I personally was also fascinated. Now that we live in the country we can get a little closer to nature.;-) For example, I have always thought that squirrels were cute and cuddly. I never understood why people would want get a bird feeder that would deter squirrels...I thought I would welcome them.

Until I saw the claws on this little guy. He was a fiesty looking little bugger....ready to attach. I am not worried, because Parsnip was ready to attack....too bad he is trapped on the porch.

Stay tuned for some of the cutest pics of the Dale Family Vacation.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Can the unicorns please stand up?

After this harsh week, I am fully aware that the world of gumdrops, pink unicorns and gumdrops does not exist here on earth. I guess that will be when we meet the big man in heaven.

And in that magical place, I hope there are no homeless people. Point #3 from Monday's blog. I am that know the one.... that stops and gives the guy on the street corner money. In Raleigh,it is likely that you will see one homeless person a day; however, in San Francisco it was one per block-hundreds per day. Just over and over, people asking us for money and it would just TUG on my heart strings.

And some of the people were just plain mean. They would yell at us when we didn't give them money. NT made the comment that if we gave everyone a dollar we would be broke so we decided to give money to the ones who were putting effort into singing, drawing, playing bucket drums, giving directions.

Then we met my favorite gentleman, playing "Stand by Me" at the Cable Car line. No really...he only played Stand by me...the same chorus over and over. We heard it 20 times while in line but I enjoyed it.

Here is my friend:
NOTE: That he is playing the guitar with a plastic spoon.
And smiling. I like when people smile. It gives me joy.

This will probably be the last San Fran posting, so here are a few of the wine country pictures. It was GORGEOUS there. I loved the laid back lifestyle....perfect for someone like me who likes to be in bed by 10pm and do puzzles in the middle of the afternoon.

We visited many wineries and our favorite was Bella which is small winery owned by a husband and wife team. Google it and read their story.

The tour was inside their wine cave. It was just NT and I and the tour guide.
It was a beautiful rainy day. NT is prepared with his wine glasses.
These are little baby grapes. They will grow into big grapes (obviously) and be picked in September.
It was fun to taste a few of the wines right out of the barrel!
And there were many many barrels.

On a sidebar-well this whole posting as basically been a sidebar-here is the watch I got NT for his Birthday along with one of those cool e-reader devices called the NOOK from Barnes N' Noble.

We are off to the beach tomorrow with the Dales. I am taking family pictures of them--we have never vacationed with a 3 year old and 3 month old. I should have LOTS of stories for Monday's blog ;-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today is one of the saddest days I have personally experienced. Our beloved Mason passed away last night. Our precious Golden Retriever. The world's perfect dog....seriously....he was the perfect dog. I write this in memory and in honor of him. He knows how much we loved him and I feel at peace with that--there was little pain and that makes me feel a tiny bit better.

In doggie heaven, mason is chasing tennis balls, breaking records for the world's longest pee, carrying stuffed animals in his mouth and becoming the coolest kid on the block. Mason, I hope it rains down milk bones every day up there in heaven. We love you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yesterday I promised to share #2 off of my list of San Francisco highlights. Therefore, today will be about why I think people love North Carolina.

Everywhere we went people would ask where we were from....we would say North Carolina and the rave reviews would begin to flow. 1 out of 3 talked about how they would like to move here. 100% talked about how much they loved the climate and how fantastic it was that we could drive to the beach and the mountains. And everyone agreed, that they would love NC because of the great radio stations that Curtis Media operates (okay maybe not--that may be self serving-btw, if you know of anyone who would like to advertise on one of these fine stations please have them call summer)

okay-well I guess that is all I really had to say about that.

let's move on to some of Summer's favorite pics from the trip. You would think these would be of the cable cars, the golden gate bridge, fishermans wharf....but no....they are of our breakfast.

The first morning we ate at an amazing restaurant in Sonoma called the Big Three-check it out next time you are there. I guess I was a little overexcited because I took A LOT of pictures but I loved the lighting and the colors....see below.
These were the most AMAZING pancakes ever. Apple Oat Pancakes with Creme Fraiche which basically means really good whip cream.
I like this picture because it captures our morning with OJ and NT with his coffee. Plus I like that only his hand and the mug are in focus.
This was NT's yummy burrito!
Okay two more random breakfast pictures. I know it is strange but for those who know me this is indeed NOT strange.
These houses are known as the "Painted Ladies"-cute huh? Can you imagine if you lived there and had tourists & double decker buses coming by all day? Luckily we don't have to worry about that here in Denver NC.

And now let's play a game called what's wrong with this picture....

You get 5 seconds to find one thing wrong with the below picture....GO!:
Did you figure it out? NO, it is not that my cheeks look fat. and NO it is not that we are wearing jackets in the middle of May. The correct answer is that this is my favorite picture, the money shot expressing my love of Cable Cars and my zipper is UNZIPPED!!
No worries. I have photoshop.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

100% Tourist

I have so much to tell ya'll....first how am I going to narrow down the 450 pictures that I took? For those newcomers, NT and I just returned from San Francisco and Sonoma Valley. There are few key takeaways from our vacation:

  1. NT and I are 100% tourist (me more so than him)
  2. People love North Carolina and think it would be a great place to live
  3. Homeless people make me VERY sad and really mess with my pretend world of pink unicorns, gumdrops and hugs wrapped in honey
  4. The San Francisco Cable car should charge admission like a theme park because it was the ride of a lifetime. (Imagine: Rice-a-roni it? Now picture me holding onto the pole at the front leaning to the side)
  5. The Golden Gate Bridge is beautiful.....and big....and WINDY.
I think I will detail each of these throughout the week. So to start let's talk about Summer as a tourist. Just go ahead and imagine "the typical tourist" and then put my face there....well minus the fanny pack.

This comes to the front of my mind because on the last day of our trip we were shopping in Union Square when I mentioned to an employee at the Diesel store how much I LOVED the Cable Cars. In a quick, terse reply he said...."san franciscans don't ride those....only tourist" and then he looked at me with disgust. I was so confused because the cable cars are SO much fun....I mean they are the ONLY moving national monument in the US! Again, he told me he had lived there for over 5 years and had never came close to one.

This made me realize that everyone should just embrace their inner tourist. Wear your camera around your chest with pride, pose in front of the Golden Gate bridge as many times as you would like, purchase an all day pass on the double decker bus, buy the gimmicky t-shirts, talk to the "bird expert" at Alcatraz for an hour (oh....maybe that is just me).

When I start out the day, I look like I am moving to a foreign country. I have jackets, motion sickness bracelets, anti-bacterial gel, tickets, camera & extra lens, bottled water & more. And NT....well he has his cell phone.

Here are some pics from the trip (WAY more to follow) and some of these showcase me embracing my inner tourist.
The Golden Gate bridge was really cool. Did you know that there is a paint crew working on that bridge every day of the year?
There she is.....tourist Summer listening to the audio tour at Alcatraz. Very cool btw.
I was OBSESSED with the Sea Lions at Pier 39. Out of the 450 pictures probably 100 of them are of the sea lions. I will do an entire posting on these guys so no worries.....
I have to tell you a secret. I don't like seafood. I think it smells. So imagine me in Fisherman's Wharf where there is seafood everywhere. Nonetheless, I can overlook my qualms for good picture moments like the ones above.

We also went to a Giants game which is part of our conquest to visit every MLB ballpark.
And friends, we were on the 3rd row. Thank you so much Sandyman. Ladies, we were so close that you could see these cute baseball pants REAL close.
And the mascot was right in front of us. I think he is a cat.
Did I mention that we ate this? Please don't tell Todd the Bod (our trainer).

Ahhh...the beautiful wine country. It will get a posting of it's own but for now here are two fun pictures.
So the take away from this blog posting.....embrace your inner tourist and wear your fanny packs proudly as you swing from a cable car.

More San Fran /Sonoma postings this week!

Publish Post

Friday, May 14, 2010

A couple of weeks ago our church held a fabulous event called Mission Possible. It was several community events at the same time with over 400 volunteers. We were everywhere, planting flowers at the hospice house, glamour shots at the Hope House for battered women, cheerleading and soccer camps in underprivileged neighborhoods, cleaning of the hospitality house, habitat for humanity and so much more.

I luckily got the chance to take photographs at several of the locations....and here are a few.
A sweet little gal helping to plant flowers....loved her eyes.
Cheerleading Camp!
Hands-On at the Craft Table.
Adorable huh?

Now, off to California we go. You can expect to see a gazillion pictures when we get back. I may (depending on internet hook up) do a posting while we are there. Our flight is at 6am tomorrow so we have to be at the airport at 4:30am. I will be a sleeping zombie by the time we make it to the Giants game tomorrow!





Thursday, May 13, 2010

I miss him.

So we are heading off to California tomorrow (Sat.) so we had to drop off the kids off at the grandparent's house. Hines at my parent's and Mason at NT's parents.....and Parsnip was left to fend for himself.

You guys probably know how much I love our pets so it was really hard for me to say good-bye.....especially to Hines. Hines is with me EVERY WHERE I go....while I work, when I cook, when I pee....

I almost cried when I dropped him off with my Dad and I had to recite a few famous lyrics from my girl Fergie...."I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket, but I gotta get a move on with my life. It's time to be a big girl now and big girl's don't cry" Thank you Fergie for those melodic lyrics

Truthfully, this is how a parent must feel when dropping their kids off at kindegarten because here I am all overcome with emotion and Hines barely looked back. He was just so happy to be with my dad.....also known as the "King of Chicken." See....Hines doesn't get much people food, but my dad has a habit of slipping the pups chicken, oatmeal cookies, ice cream sandwiches etc. ( NOTE FOR MY DAD: Dad, please don't feed little Hinsey anything other than his treats and food, I weighed him before I left so I am watching you ;-)

Now, I wanted to share with you the packing process for both dogs.

Here is Hines "stuff":

4 stuffed animals, Peanut Butter for his bone, a pair of my shoes because he likes to sit on them, food, a leash, bones, my sports bra and knee brace....i have not idea why but Hines loves my exercise clothes, treats, clothing, a brush....

Here is Mason's "stuff":

And I would show you my stuff but I have a problem with over packing and it is kind of embarrassing.

Mason ready to hit the road....
And for those who need a Hines fix (aka: Chris) he is: