28 March 2016

Small Group

Donna Hay's Red Velvet Cheesecake

I haven't written much about our Small Group; 14 friends, 7 couples we've been doing life with for over 20 years. Originally we all attended Willow Creek Community Church, so we organized as part of their desire for everyone to have community and support on a micro-level within the huge body of the church. Amazingly, we are all still actively involved in each other's lives.

Most of us are retired. Most of us have had health issues; happily all well-resolved. All our children are now grown--graduated from college, found careers/lost jobs, married, divorced, had babies/lost pregnancies, thriving/temporarily struggling, bought homes/sold homes, moved away/moved closer... One couple tragically lost their oldest son. Through it all our group has gathered-round with prayers, wisdom, humor, well-spoken words, meals, gifts, etc. And mostly, the quiet assurance of companionship along life's pathways--rocky terrain as well as still waters and green pastures.

So, even before CA and I left the beach I reached out and invited our friends over for dessert on the eve of CA's surgery. We never-ever run out of conversation when we get together. I wanted CA to feel the love and support of these friends, as well as both our children who flew in to be with us during surgery and after.

Red Velvet Cheesecake prep and fresh fruit with Agave/Tequila (3/1 parts):

After almost two hours together, we joined hands and each prayed for CA's health, for the doctors skill and care, for the well-being of our family. Powerful stuff!

Lovely spring flowers and fun foods from Trader Joe's--some of the gifts from our Small Group:

16 March 2016

And, We are Home

Greeted our first night back from the beach by a gorgeous sunset over Dufield Pond. Not a bad welcome home.

3/11, Pi Day. To celebrate we enjoy a favorite at Nick's Pizza, and make a Coconut-Banana Cream Pie (Martha's pâte brisée).

I've invited our Small Group for dessert tonight, to catch-up and to pray for CA's Mitral Valve repair surgery scheduled for tomorrow. I've been busy baking Donna Hay's Red Velvet Cheesecake, cleaning, re-hanging pictures, clocks, etc. in the two very recently painted bathrooms; just generally feathering our nest and expending excess energy.

And, we just learned that we've scored a lease on a flat at Old Town Flats in Fort Collins, beginning May 1st.

09 March 2016

Cadged Another Week at the Beach

We decided there was no compelling reason to go home as CA was able to move his pre-surgery tests to Friday. Yea! 5 more beach days.

Saturday, 3/5
After breakfast at Pocahontas, we spend a good bit of Saturday cooling our heels in the 10th floor lounge at Oceanaire. Very comfortably. We check in at Beach Quarters just after 4:30pm, and walk just next door for an early dinner at Waterman's, a long-time beach staple.

Citrus-glazed salmon for CA; chicken-vegetable curry with cilantro-lime rice for me.

Sunday, 3/6
We walk from our condo at 5th Street to 11th Street Taphouse for brunch. They have a fantastic Bloody Mary bar on Saturdays and Sundays.

We decide to share plates. We order a Baby spinach-shallot-shredded carrot-cranberry salad and crab-artichoke dip for our brunch. Excellent.

For dinner, we opt to enjoy wine and cheeses in our condo, and settle in happily for an evening focused on the Downton Abbey finale.

Monday, 3/7
We walk just across the street for breakfast at the Sunnyside Café. CA loves his pecan pancakes, and I totally splurge (again) on a Belgian waffle. Excellent coffee and food. We spend quite a lot of time with our electronic devices before moving on with our day.

By 3:30 we're at I Fly for my sky diving adventure. A fantastic experience!

I come away just famished, so we go directly to Taste for an early dinner. I enjoyed a Northender: turkey-Havarti-bacon-avocado on a baguette; CA chooses a roast beef-provolone sandwich. Superb! We buy a pecan pie bar (CA) and a very fat 7-layer bar (Me!) to carry-out for an evening treat.

Tuesday, 3/8

Who knew! Super heroes (full-sized) at Harris Teeter.

Crepe Myrtle. Soon it will leaf-up, and then bloom gorgeously.

One last dinner at Mannino's. Unbelievable lasagna, and their bread is excellent.

At sunrise, there was a college baseball team working out just beneath our terrace. Lucky guys!

And, just a bit more shopping.

Wednesday, 3/9
Time to head home. Sigh...

07 March 2016

Bucket List

Big check mark! I may never jump out of a plane, but today I had a chance to free-fall and fly. Yep. Good for me. I had a great experience at I Fly Virginia Beach. And, there's a video to prove it.

05 March 2016

Whadda Week!

Saturday, 2/28
We arrive at Oceanaire mid-afternoon and settle-in quickly. We've got the vacation condo-thing down pat. This is our first time at Oceanaire, but we've stayed at the adjoining sister property (Ocean Beach Club) many times. This is a lovely property. Kind of a masculine, urban flare.

Lager Heads next door for dinner. A short stroll and great food.

Sunday, 2/29
Pocahontas, across Atlantic Avenue for Breakfast. A beach favorite. Great coffee!

Who knew? Off season you can ride horses on the beach.

CA picks-up sandwiches at nearby Taste, and we have a picnic on the 10th floor sun deck, in front of a blazing fire pit.

We thought Restaurant Week ended last night, but when we cross Atlantic Avenue to Mannino's Italian for dinner we find tonight is the final night. Happy Hour 1/2-priced wine and a 3-course prix-fixe dinner, to-boot.

Apricot Vinaigrette and Gorgonzola. A terrific salad.

Monday, 3/1
Tending to my shopping "needs":

Gorgeous sunset tonight!

We carry-in pizza tonight. Pi-zzeria is just catty-corner across Atlantic Avenue. This is a must-have on every beach visit. Tonight we choose pear, prosciutto, Gorgonzola, and arugula. Excellent!

Tuesday, 3/2
My reading spot...

An entertaining and delicious dinner an Otani.

Wednesday, 3/3
Mary's Restaurant, a new breakfast experience. 17th Street.

My reading spot!

It's a bit chilly beachfront today, but I prevail.

We spend some beautiful and tranquil time on Croatan Beach. A family favorite. Hypnotizing, even.

Thursday, 3/3
Inside today, reading. It's very windy outside.

Dinner at a Blue Pete's. We last visited in 1978 when it was a tiny, white tablecloth restaurant. Way down in Pungo, on Muddy Creek Road. Still isolated today, but not nearly as much as years ago. Now it's more of a seafood/pub-style menu. An adventure; worth repeating every visit.

I have to point out that these are quart-sized Mason jar drinks! I did not imbibe, but I certainly will next visit.

Friday, 3/4
Another windy, 45° day. But, the sun is shining!

My reading spot today. I love this lounge & the view. They've even covered the fire pit today as it's SO windy.

We'd planned on Pelon's for Mexican, but it's closed for renovations. We're afoot and it's so cold (and windy!) that we walk to a close and dependably excellent spot. Lager Heads--again!

Hanger Steak Frites. Balsamic and blue cheese.

Saturday, 3/5
Check-out day, but we've decided to extend our visit so we're just moving down the beach. Way down the beach--from 35th Street to 5th. We can't stay a full week, but 5 more days make me happy.

Pocahontas again for breakfast. So good. Have I mentioned? Excellent coffee! I may have over-ordered. In my defense, I did not order those potatoes nor did I eat even a bite. And, I only ate 1/2 of the biscuits and gravy, though they were very good. I know, excuses, excuses.

My reading spot today.