Carolina in My Mind Archives

February 10, 2008

A new bird!

I’m not a birder but I do have a “kitchen window” bird list that I started when I moved to this house and put feeders up. I love watching them while I’m cooking but it’s been several years since I’ve added a new one…until today when I saw a Brown-headed Nuthatch! I had to dig out the bird book to ID him and find the list so I could add him. He was a cute little guy, much smaller than the White-breasted Nuthatch that I see all the time.

I call my kitchen window “LuLu’s TV set” because she loves to sit there and watch the birds too. She’s very calm when it’s just birds but gets pretty riled up when a squirrel comes along.

Continue reading "A new bird! " »

February 26, 2008

Spring on the way


I took this at a garden shop this past weekend. The mushrooms are glass but the daffodils are real. And now we have possible snow flurries in the forecast and it's going to be in the low 20's tonight. No matter, spring will be here soon.

I love visiting garden shops even though I don't garden as much as I used to. My current yard is mainly shade which isn't that inspiring for gardening. Plus I planted a bunch of stuff when I first moved here, and the deer came and ate almost everything. A few perennials have survived - some bearded iris, shasta daisies, an heirloom rose bush, daffodils - but they ate the rest. I've even had deer come on my porch and eat plants out of pots! They're virtually tame and don't even run when I come out to chase them off - they just slowly mosey off to go eat someone else's plants. Some neighbors built a very elaborate fence and one day when I was out walking, I saw a deer jump that fence and start eating the birdseed out of their feeder. I guess they are very hungry.

I do have one sunny spot inside a deer-proof fence that's for tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and zinnias. Maybe some sunflowers too. But it's about 6 weeks or so before it'll be safe to plant any of that.

February 28, 2008

Southern Folk Art Show

We went to a big Southern folk art show last weekend and saw so much amazing and inspirational art. The best part was that all the artists were there too, and you could meet them and buy art directly from them.

I love art shows and will go look at anything, but these days there seems to be a lot of cynical and depressing modern art out there. Folk art is just the opposite – it’s innocent and much of it is hopeful and uplifting. Some of it is hilarious, and the sad works are poignant and moving rather than depressing.

Another name for folk art is “outsider” art – I’m not crazy about that term since it sounds kind of snobby. Self-taught or visionary art are better labels. One of my favorite museums in the world is the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore; it’s a branch of the Smithsonian that focuses on artists with vision and talent and inspiration, but no formal art training.

The Southern show had so much beautiful and/or funky art that I wanted to buy. I walked around the whole show twice trying to decide what I loved the most, and I ended up buying two paintings from an artist named Eric Legge.

And of course, one of them is a church! Not a church in Venice – this looks more like a church in the mountains of NC where I grew up. It’s beautiful. I’d never seen any work by Eric before; he’s a very nice young man and I really enjoyed meeting him. So when I got home I googled and found an interview with him with this incredibly wise quote:

“I don’t paint to sell. I sell so that I can paint.”


Continue reading "Southern Folk Art Show" »

February 29, 2008

More from the folk art show


This nice pink animal was made by Clyde Jones, one of North Carolina’s most well-known folk artists. He calls his sculptures “critters,” and his home, Critter Crossing, is listed on Roadside America: Guide to Off-Beat Tourist Attractions. You can see his critters all over this area, in restaurants and in other people’s yards. I like his work a lot.

A few years ago, Clyde had a show at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh, and there were about 50 of his critters in the woods behind the museum. I took my nephew (who was about 3 years old at the time) and we had a blast – it was completely magical to hike through the woods and see all these crazy colorful animals spread out over several acres of forest.

Clyde is a character and is known for being quirky about selling his art. Sometimes he will, mostly he won’t, and sometimes he just gives it away, especially to children. The most famous story is when he refused to sell a piece to Mikhail Baryshnikov who was in the area for a performance and went out to Clyde’s house to see the art. Clyde does lots of presentations in local schools and at the art show last weekend, he was in his booth surrounded by a bunch of happy kids. More photos below.

Continue reading "More from the folk art show" »

March 13, 2008

Farmer's Market Report #1

Our Farmer’s Market is still on its winter schedule (every other Saturday from 10-12) but goes back to the weekly schedule in April (every Saturday from 8-12). I went this morning and it was very crowded and fun – everyone has spring fever, I think, and it’s a beautiful warmish morning here. Not that many vendors were there but lots of buyers with their kids and dogs. A young girl was playing the banjo, and an Easter Egg Hunt was in the works in the daffodil-filled garden next to the market. I wish I’d taken my camera!

I’ve learned that you need to get to the market right when it opens because things like figs and asparagus sell out very quickly. Too early in the year for either of those but today’s hot item was rainbow chard. I bought a bag at 10 am and by the time I left at 10:30, all the chard was gone.

I also bought arugula, parsley, green onions and green garlic, radishes, and eggs. I love my egg man because a few years ago he told me that his chickens are not livestock, they are his pets with 15 acres to roam around in. His eggs are delicious – almost as good as those orange-yolked eggs in Italy.

I bought chocolate chip cookies for my nephews from Emma, who has one of several baked goods booths. I was tempted by her coconut pie but went with the cookies because they are the boys’ faves. I was surprised to see strawberries at one booth – they were beautiful but the man was honest and told me that they were greenhouse-grown and not as sweet as the field-grown ones will be, so I decided to wait.

I also bought six red tulips. They are in a vase in the kitchen, and LuLu is in there now circling them and rubbing against them – she loves fresh flowers and it’s probably just a matter of time before she knocks the vase over. Only one of the tulips is open so I’m looking forward to seeing them bloom this week if my crazy cat doesn't destroy them.

March 17, 2008

March Madness

It’s that time of year. Here in North Carolina, we are all in the “eat, breathe, sleep, dream, and talk about nothing but basketball” zone that overtakes our state like clockwork every March. To call it an obsession is no exaggeration at all. We’re hoops mad all the time but once the tournament begins, we get even crazier. Forget Easter or spring fever, for now it’s all hoops, all the time.

My team is the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, known affectionately as “the Heels.” The typical conversation starter these days is “How ‘bout those Heels?” and I hear that at work, in the grocery store, at the dentist, and from both friends and strangers pretty much everywhere I go. People carry their brackets around with them everywhere, and we compare notes about who we picked. I'm starting to get emails from old college buddies who want to talk about our chances. We pull out old “good luck” clothes or charms that helped us win previous championships in 1957 or 1982 or 1993 or 2005 and do various other things to try to please and appease the hoops gods (I have a very tattered but very lucky pompom that I build a shrine for).

I’m cautiously optimistic about our chances this year. We’re ranked Number One in the country, have the best player in the nation, have healed from some mid-season injuries, and are playing very very well. But winning it all in a “one-and-done” tournament like the NCAA is very difficult, and it only takes one giant killer playing the game of his life to knock a better team out. So while I’m trying to take it one game at a time (survive and advance), I can’t help but smile when I think about cutting the nets down on April 7. We’ll see what happens.

Here are a few photos. First is my nephew scoring a basket at the recently opened Carolina Basketball Museum. See all that light blue? That’s Carolina blue! One of our fight songs goes, “I’m Tar Heel born and I’m Tar Heel bred and when I die, I’ll be Tar Heel dead” and my nephews are being “bred” to carry on the tradition, just like my brother and I were.


Our star player was recently named National Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated. Some folks are concerned about an alleged SI cover jinx, but not me. I’m superstitious about other things but not that, and I’m happy for Tyler (aka Psycho T, what a cool nickname!).


Continue reading "March Madness" »

March 19, 2008

What's a Tar Heel?

Tar HeelI get asked that question all the time. Well, North Carolina is “The Tar Heel State” so everyone who lives here is a Tar Heel. And it’s also the nickname for the sports teams of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

There are several different legends about the origin of the name, and I usually go with the one that dates back to the Revolutionary War. In colonial times, one of North Carolina’s major products was tar from all the pine forests across the state. Some people think that originally "Tar Heels" was an insult, something along the lines of "redneck" or "white trash."

Then the war began and supposedly the troops from North Carolina were very brave (or foolhardy) and refused to retreat or back down, and some famous general said, “Those boys from North Carolina must have tar on their heels” to compliment their bravery. And after that, being called a "Tar Heel" was positive rather than insulting.

UNC-Chapel Hill (founded in 1789) is the oldest public university in the U.S. and “Tar Heels” became the nickname for all the sports teams at that school. So while every resident of NC is a Tar Heel, not every resident is a Tar Heel fan (there are other universities in the state and some people chose to pull for those other teams, though I don't understand why).

UNC_RamsesBut here’s what really confuses people. Our mascot is a ram named Ramses. But we are NOT the UNC Rams, we’re the UNC Tar Heels. Even I don’t completely understand that. Maybe it was just too hard to make a furry suit that looks like a foot?

Our rivals like to point out that a Tar Heel is, in reality, nothing but a dirty foot, and they are right. But I love the name…there are lots of teams called lions or tigers or bears, but ours is unique.

The rivals also like to note that Carolina Blue is a wimpy color more suited to baby nurseries than to athletics, but that’s just sour grapes on their part. ;)

mason and ramses

March 28, 2008

The Final Four

Well, my Tar Heels are still alive and have made it to the Final Four! Twelve days ago, there were 64 teams in the tournament and now there are only four (North Carolina, Kansas, Memphis, and UCLA).

To win the National Championship, you have to win six games in a row. Four down, two to go for the Heels, but the competition gets tougher with every game. And this year, for the first time in history, the Final Four teams are the four Number One seeds which means that the teams left are the best in the country (no Cinderellas this year).

We play Kansas on Saturday night which means a whole week for the excitement and anticipation to build. I’ll be bouncing off the walls by then. Go Heels!

Just to show that indeed, everything is connected...hoops in Venice! In December, I found this basketball court at the base of the campanile of the church of San Francesco della Vigna.


Continue reading "The Final Four" »

April 1, 2008

And so it goes...

Well, my Tar Heels got hit by a runaway freight train called the Kansas Jayhawks last night. It was pretty ugly, to say the least. We were down by 28 points in the first half and looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights. We couldn’t do anything to stop them. A valiant rally in the second half and we cut their lead to 4 points and then ran out of steam. Sigh. Lots of seriously bummed-out UNC fans are now trying to figure out what in the heck happened. I feel bad for our players because they looked so sad on the TV news but overall, to me, it’s just the way college basketball goes - it was Kansas’ night and not ours. And we had an amazing season – won 36 games and only lost 3, who can complain about that?

I’m more sad about the fact that it will be 7 months until the next game. Now we enter the part of the year where we wait to see which, if any, of our players will leave college early and head for the NBA. I think all of our guys will be back but I’m an optimist and really, who can blame them for moving on to become instant millionaires instead of playing for free?

In happier news from North Carolina, it’s been raining here for about a week. For the past year, we’ve been in an emergency drought situation that’s been pretty scary – at one point, we had less than a month of water left – and it’s so good to get all this rain and see the lake levels rise. Keep it coming.

May 23, 2008

Spring at the Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market

Here’s some stuff I bought from our local market a few Saturdays ago. Clockwise from the eggs, there is lettuce, asparagus, radishes, scallions, baby turnips (both white and red), and cabbage. The brown square to the left is suet for the bird feeder and above that is some locally produced goat cheese.

In the bottom right corner, you can see LuLu looking longingly at the scallions. She loves long skinny vegetables - she always tries to steal one so she can bat it onto the floor and chase it around. Maybe she’s pretending that it’s a snake? She like green beans a lot too.

I’ve read both of Michael Pollan’s books (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food) which thoroughly explain all the many good and green reasons to buy locally grown food. But beyond all that, the food just tastes better plus it’s so much fun to shop at an outdoor market. Ours has only been in existence for a few years and people are so excited that it really has a festival atmosphere. And this year, it’s open on Wednesday afternoons in addition to Saturday morning, and it’s so convenient to be able to stop by on Wednesday after work.

Baby turnipsBut another thing I like is that you can find things you don’t see in a regular old grocery store, like these baby turnips. I’d never had them before (and I’m not a huge fan of “adult” turnips), and they are delicious.

You eat the whole thing – roots, stalks and leaves – and I cooked them like Italian spinach, in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes. Then I added a little bit of broth and let them simmer for about 10 minutes until the roots were tender. So good!

Our Farmer’s Market sends out a weekly email newsletter that gives a little preview of the Saturday market. The one I got today said that three of the market's farmers were completely wiped out by that hail storm I wrote about earlier this week, and they are going to have to replant all their summer crops. It’s a rough business – that’s another reason I like to shop there and support these people.

In cat and kitten news, I think we are making some progress. I was in the saferoom with Maria this morning, and LuLu pushed the door open and came in. She didn’t hiss at Maria, she meowed! Then she sniffed the room and left. I haven’t let them get too close to each other yet. And all I can say about Maria is that she is wild and rambunctious and hilarious! I’m really looking forward to this holiday weekend so I can spend more time with them. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

July 26, 2008

PhotoHunt: Hanging


This week's theme is "hanging."

Here are a few things that were hanging in the Magic Wings Butterfly House at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC.




Happy weekend folks!

August 2, 2008

PhotoHunt: Cloud(s)


This week's theme is "cloud(s)." I'm going with a reflection of a cloud in this pond that used to be quarry but is now part of the "Explore the Wild" section of the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC.


Happy weekend!

September 10, 2008

Turn It Blue

TurnItBlue“Turn It Blue” is a sports slogan/rally cry for my beloved UNC Tar Heels but during this election year, it has another meaning for me.

I’ve written before about how the state of North Carolina is absolutely basketball crazy and obsessed. Last week I went for a walk during lunch and saw this homemade campaign sign on the side of a vacant building, and I had to laugh. Only in North Carolina!?! Kudos to whoever made this:


Continue reading "Turn It Blue" »

September 14, 2008

Summer at the Farmer's Market


Summer is probably my least favorite season for three reasons - heat, humidity, and bugs. It hasn't been too horribly hot this year and the drought is over, thank goodness, but the bugs have been particularly vicious this summer. But it's worth the sweat and bug bites to be able to eat summer vegetables like the ones in the photo above, which shows all the stuff I brought home from the Farmer's Market a couple weeks ago. What a haul: cukes, squash (green and yellow), peppers, eggplant, three kinds of beans (green, yellow wax, and Roma), figs, and tomatoes.

Not in the picture but something else I buy every week is cheese. Our farmer's market now has three local cheese makers who sell some truly delicious stuff that's almost as good as the cheese you get in Italy.

The October 2008 issue of Bon Appetit magazine has an article called "America's Foodiest Small Town" and it's all about my area (Durham - Chapel Hill) and has interviews with some of the farmers that I buy from every week. Pretty cool. I like this part:

"Durham and Chapel Hill—united by an eight-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 15-501—are best known for two things: tobacco and their utter hatred for one another's college basketball teams, the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels. But to many they are considered one and the same. And after spending several days meeting farmers like Stuart and Alice, visiting restaurants and farmers' markets, and eating up the wildly diverse culinary scene, I was beginning to think food—not hoops—was the area's outstanding asset."

It's pretty exciting that we've got such a great food scene with so much emphasis on local/organic/sustainable. I seldom go the supermarket any more - I buy pretty much everything I eat at the Farmer's Market and Costco.

Previous posts:

Farmer's Market Report #1
Spring at the Farmer's Market

Coming up soon: Fall! I'm ready to feel that autumn nip in the air but I sure will miss the tomatoes.

September 19, 2008

PhotoHunt: Road


This week's theme is "road."

These are photos from a road trip I took to a charming Roadside Attraction in Prospect Hill, NC.

This miniature stone village was built by North Carolina farmer Henry L. Warren (1883-1978) with help from his neighbor Junius Pennix. The village consists of 27 small buildings that include a church, a hospital, a hotel, and a mill with a waterwheel. Mr. Warren named his little village Shangri-la.

Mr. Warren began building Shangri-la in 1968 when he was 75 years old and worked on it for the next nine years until he died at age 84. The village is made of white quartz and other stone that Mr. Warren found on his farmland. I love this place so much! Happy weekend to all.

The road by Shangri-la:




More photos below:

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September 28, 2008

Sunrise at Topsail Island this morning

sunrise at Topsail

September 30, 2008

Topsail Island/Surf City


Anne (andasamo) asked me where Topsail Island is, so here's the answer! It’s on the coast of North Carolina, about two and a half hours from where I live, so it’s a quick and easy trip to go down there for a long weekend like I did last week.

I love the beach. When I was a kid, that was always the destination for our family vacations – we would spend a week or two at either a North or South Carolina beach every summer.

North Carolina has a lot of nice beaches but Topsail is my favorite because it reminds me the most of how the beach was when I was young. It’s not over-developed and there are no ugly high-rise hotels, it’s mainly just cottages. And there’s not much to do except commune with the ocean, swim, walk, fish, or just lay around and read, so it’s very relaxing and renewing. I love the salty smell of the beach and the sound of the waves crashing, and I love to go for long walks and look for seashells. Fall is a perfect time to go because it’s still plenty warm, but vacation season is over so there aren’t a lot of people there.


Continue reading "Topsail Island/Surf City" »

October 1, 2008

After a Storm


The day before I went to Topsail, an unnamed storm blew through and even though it wasn’t powerful enough to have a name, it did quite a bit of damage. Virtually every ocean-front home had lost its stairs and/or walkways, and there was some debris laying around on the beach. All along the island, there are public access stairways that take you over the sand dunes and many of these stairs were gone, but luckily the ones closest to our house were intact. The ocean was still churned up when we arrived but it got calmer each day, and there were some beautiful bands of stormy clouds moving through. And the storm washed up some great shells!


Continue reading "After a Storm" »

October 2, 2008

Birds at the beach


It's pretty common to see dolphins swimming by at Topsail although I didn't see any this time (and I didn't get to see the turtles either), but there were lots of nice birds. I don't have a photo of the best bird sighting...I was sitting on the upper deck of the house and a big group of pelicans flew over in formation, very cool!

There was a large flock of black birds hanging out on the beach - I don't remember ever seeing them there before. I think this guy is kinda cute:


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October 14, 2008

Barack to the Future!

A few photos from the Cookout for Change that I went to a few weeks ago. There was a bake sale for Obama and a lemonade stand and a bunch of very cute kids.

There is no doubt in my mind that Obama/Biden are the candidates who will do more to ensure that these kids have a bright future.



Continue reading "Barack to the Future!" »

October 16, 2008

The Polls are Open in NC!

When and where to Vote in North Carolina on Nov. 4: Click Here to find your polling place

NC State Board of Elections: Tuesday, Nov. 4, polls open at 6:30 AM and close at 7:30 pm


Locations and Hours for Early Voting In North Carolina

I voted today! When I got to work this morning, the lines at the precinct were very long so I kept looking out the window and walked over there when it looked like they had gotten a little bit shorter. It wasn’t bad at all, only about a 15-minute wait, and it was a lot of fun to talk to the other people in line. The mood can only be described as jubilant. I shook hands with a very sweet older gentleman who was wearing a "Veterans for Obama" button. Everyone was clapping and cheering for the first-time voters. I got a little teary-eyed at one point. And then after I’d marked my ballot, I said a prayer for the safety and well-being of Obama, and for peace on earth and good will towards people, animals, and the environment. Then I turned my ballot in and got my sticker which says “I voted early” and “I made freedom count.”

Oh, and I got polled last night! About 10 minutes before the debate, I got a phone call, and I made the pollster laugh when we got to the part where you have to define how certain you are about your candidate (very certain, somewhat certain, etc.). I interrupted her and said “one hundred thousand percent certain that I’ll be voting for Barack Obama tomorrow.” I was glad they called me!

Turn It Blue, North Carolina!


October 21, 2008

News from a battleground state

jamestaylor.jpgSinger/songwriter James Taylor returned home to do five free “Change We Need” concerts here in North Carolina this week, and last night I went to the one on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill. Thousands of people gathered to hear JT, one of North Carolina’s favorite sons, and to join him in support of Barack Obama. James Taylor doesn’t live in NC anymore but he grew up in Chapel Hill and as he told us last night, he still considers himself a Tar Heel. He said that it's so wonderful for North Carolina to finally be a battleground state and that the fact that we are on the cusp of turning it blue is “truly miraculous.” I'm grateful to him for coming home to help "get out the vote." The message of the night was “vote early” so that the lines won’t be too long on Election Day (since long lines might impact people who have to get to work and don’t have time to wait in line).

JT opened with a lovely version of "America the Beautiful" and then sang many of his best and most famous songs (Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, You Got a Friend). He led the crowd in this cool Obama chant with a funky gospel vibe,which was lots of fun. He doesn't look quite the same as he did on the album cover above (which my parents bought in the late 60's and I actually still have) but his voice is just as sweet and beautiful as ever.

He saved the best for last: "Carolina in My Mind," the greatest song ever written about North Carolina, and just a perfect heartfelt song about that bittersweet yearning you can have for a place you love. I've alway loved that song and it's even the title of one of my blog categories!

So the whole evening was wonderful and inspiring, and I left feeling a lot of hope.

And then…

Continue reading "News from a battleground state" »

October 23, 2008

Opie and Andy (and others) endorse Obama


North Carolina doesn't have that many celebrities but one of the most iconic is actor Andy Griffith, who was born and raised here, went to UNC-Chapel Hill, and then starred in the classic TV show set in the fictional North Carolina town of Mayberry.

Well, yesterday Andy joined director Ron Howard (who played his son Opie on the show) in this video endorsing Barack Obama. It's getting lots of press here in NC in the papers and on the local TV news. One local writer wonders if the "Mayberry Miracle" will be the thing that pushes NC over into the blue!

It's a great video. I got a little choked up when I heard that "Andy Griffith Show" theme song! Kudos to Ron Howard for making this. And after Ron revisits Andy and Mayberry, he reprises his role as Ritchie Cunningham and gets The Fonz to endorse Obama too! Happy Days!

The photo at the top is the endorsement from the Raleigh News and Observer that was published last weekend.

dean_smith.jpgAnd this endorsement is one that's really close to my heart since Coach Dean Smith is one of my heroes. Not just because he coached my Tar Heels for 36 years and is the greatest basketball coach of all time, but also because he's a kind and compassionate man who has done so much for North Carolina above and beyond giving us many years of excellent basketball. A few facts from his Wikipedia page:

"Smith is also known for running a clean program and having a high graduation rate for his players with 96.6% players going on to graduate. Smith is one of the most prominent liberals in North Carolina politics. Politically, he is best known for promoting desegregation...In 1964, Smith joined a local pastor and a black North Carolina theology student to integrate The Pines, a Chapel Hill restaurant. He also integrated the Tar Heels basketball team by recruiting Charlie Scott as the university's first black scholarship athlete.

While coach, he was recruited by some in the Democratic Party to run for the United States Senate against incumbent Jesse Helms. He declined. But in retirement, he has continued to speak out on issues such as the war in Iraq, death penalty and gay rights. In 2006, Smith became the spokesperson for Devout Democrats, an inter-faith, grassroots political action committee designed to convince religious Americans to vote for Democrats."

Here is the text of Coach Smith's endorsement:

Continue reading "Opie and Andy (and others) endorse Obama" »

October 27, 2008

Creative Campaigning


It’s so interesting to see all the creativity inspired by Obama. It’s one thing to slap a bumper sticker on the car or put a pre-fab sign in the yard, but I continue to see hand-made signs and various other inspired ways that people are showing their support. It’s very cool that people are so enthusiastic that they take the time to create something personal and unique. It gives me a lot of hope!

Here are a few signs that I’ve seen here in NC...

Continue reading "Creative Campaigning" »

October 30, 2008

Brighter days are coming...


That's what Obama said yesterday and I swear, I'm starting to believe him. We will know for sure next week!

I joined 28,000 of my fellow North Carolinians at the Obama rally in downtown Raleigh yesterday. It was so wonderful to get to hear him in person! Notice that I said "hear" not "see" because I was very far away from the stage! I took some photos and well, you gotta trust me on this, he’s in the photo below. LOL. The Raleigh News and Observer has a slide show here with some nice close-ups of him.


Continue reading "Brighter days are coming..." »

November 14, 2008

PhotoHunt: Ruined


This week's theme is "ruin(ed)."

I've got a couple this week, a shrine in Venice and a shed in North Carolina.

This little wayside shrine in Venice looks like it's melting into the wall. It's not completely ruined but it's on its way.

San Antonio shrine

But even so, it's still serving its purpose as a devotional altar, as you can tell by the little San Antonio candle someone put in it.

San Antonio shrine detail

Continue reading "PhotoHunt: Ruined" »

November 17, 2008

Bull Durham

This post is for Girasoli (world’s biggest Red Sox fan!). A while back, we were talking about baseball movies on her blog and of course, “Bull Durham” came up. Girasoli didn’t know that the Durham Bulls (the minor league team in the movie) were a real-life team, so I told her that I’d go by the ballpark and take some photos.


This ballpark (the Durham Athletic Park or the DAP) was built in 1939 and is where they filmed the movie in 1988. There have been a number of events to celebrate the movie’s 20th anniversary this year; the biggest was when Kevin Costner brought his rock-n-roll band to play at the city’s Fourth of July party this summer. That concert took place at the new ballpark (built in the mid-1990’s), not this old historic one. The Durham Bulls always had decent attendance at games, but the crowds grew even larger because of the movie and also because of the early 1990’s success of the Atlanta Braves (at that time, the Durham Bulls were a minor league team for the Braves). The old ballpark just couldn’t handle the crowds ( I remember one game where I missed three innings waiting in line for the ladies’ room!) so they built a new and larger stadium. It’s a very nice place but I kinda miss the old park.

Continue reading "Bull Durham" »

November 21, 2008

PhotoHunt: Reflection


This week's theme is "reflection."

This was taken at Surf City beach on Topsail Island, NC.

Surf City birds

You can find more Photo Hunters here.

Happy weekend!

February 8, 2009

Weekend Update

It's still winter here in North Carolina as you can tell from all the bare branches on the oak trees in my yard:

winter sky was a beautiful 70 degree February day. I actually worked in the yard for a while (I moved my compost bin from the side yard to the back), and I saw some signs of spring (daffodil buds!):


Continue reading "Weekend Update" »

February 20, 2009

PhotoHunt: Warm


This week's theme is "warm."

A warm morning sunrise on Topsail Island, NC. I'm looking forward to seeing some warm photos this weekend (it is NOT warm here right now!).


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Have a great weekend everyone and Happy PhotoHunting!

February 23, 2009

Fall and Winter at the Market

This past year, I’ve done several blog posts about shopping at my local farmer’s market. Here are the previous posts in the series.

Farmer’s Market Report #1 (March 2008)
Spring at the Market (May 2008)
Summer at the Market (September 2008)

I just realized that I skipped the Autumn post (even though I took a photo for it) so I’m going to combine fall and winter in this one.

Here’s the Autumn photo – taken the weekend before Thanksgiving. As you can see, there were still plenty of good things to eat even though it was starting to get colder.

Spinach, scallions, Swiss chard, several colors of peppers, a turban-shaped pumpkin, and butterbeans in the bag. I made soup out of that pumpkin and it was awesome.


And here is winter, taken the last weekend in January. This time, I bought eggs, Italian parsley, radishes, Swiss chard, spinach, scallions, goat cheese, and a cabbage (Maria the kitten is partially blocking the view of the cabbage).


There was tons of lettuce at the market in January too as well as collards and other greens. And lots of potatoes, both white and sweet.

Not pictured is the potato, lemon, and farmer’s cheese empanada that I bought at the market and ate immediately!

Continue reading "Fall and Winter at the Market" »

February 24, 2009

A Day at the Museum of Life and Science

Last summer, my nephew Davis spent the weekend with me, and one of the things we did was go to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. I’ve been taking the boys to this museum for years – they love it and so do I. It’s a very large museum with both indoor and outdoor exhibits, and is a great place to hike around and take pictures!

Davis had just gotten a camera for his sixth birthday, so we were both snapping lots of shots that day.


We arrived right when the museum opened and decided to do the outdoor stuff first, and then go inside later when it got hot. First we walked through the “Farmyard” and saw all those animals, and next went to the “Explore the Wild” section where we were very lucky to see one of the four black bears taking a morning swim. We also visited the wolves and the lemurs.


Davis was very patient about posing for me. :)


Continue reading "A Day at the Museum of Life and Science" »

March 2, 2009

Snow Day!


What a great surprise! We don't get that much snow where I live, and it's especially unusual to get any this late in the season. It rained all day yesterday and then when I went to bed, it had just turned to snow. I woke up this morning to a Winter Wonderland, and the roads are so bad that I can't go to work (yay!). I love Snow Days and we get so few of them that it's really exciting when it happens.


It was 70 degrees here last week and we've already got daffodils blooming.


Kathy (Trekcapri) asked me how my cats like the snow. Well, they are indoor cats so they don't have to go out and get cold feet but when I woke up this morning, they were both in the window checking it all out. The first thing I did was go outside and fill up the bird feeders, so both cats sat in the window watching the birds for an hour or so. Cat TV! Now LuLu is in her bed taking a nap but Maria is still sitting in the kitchen window chirping at the birds.


Continue reading "Snow Day!" »

March 18, 2009

The President Picks the Heels

tar_heel.jpegMarch Madness is in full force here in North Carolina and everyone is talking about their brackets and office pools, and Tar Heel fans like me are fretting about our point guard Ty Lawson's hurt toe and trying to figure out how to leave work early for the Heels' first game on Thursday afternoon.

I have to say, seeing President Obama's bracket makes me very happy! I haven't finished filling my bracket out yet but I'm going to pick UNC to go all the way too. :)

Go Heels!


Presidential Pick 'Em At the White House (story and photo from ESPN)

"The most powerful person in the world is like many of you: He predicts the Tar Heels will be cutting down the nets in Detroit.

"I'm going with experience, and I think that Lawson is going to be healthy. I think having an experienced point guard who can control the game and make free throws at the end, that's going to be the difference," Obama said.

The commander in chief then turned to an ESPN camera, offering this pep talk for coach Roy Williams' crew:

"Now, for the Tar Heels who are watching, I picked you all last year -- you let me down. This year, don't embarrass me in front of the nation, all right? I'm counting on you. I still got those sneakers you guys gave me."

I love his little pep talk! I guess the Tar Heels gave him some sneakers when he played ball with them during the campaign. His bracket looks pretty good!

Obama's Bracket

And in other Hoops news, Forbes Magazine also ranks the Tar Heels Number One: The Most Valuable College Basketball Team


If you're scratching your head about what I'm talking about, here you go: :)

What is a Tar Heel?

March Madness

March 27, 2009

PhotoHunt: Hands


This week's theme is "Hands."

A large street mural on a building in downtown Durham, NC. I don't know who the artist is but there are lots of hands (and hand holding) in the painting.


A sweet little painting and message on the back of the car that belongs to North Carolina folk artist Sam "The Dot Man" McMillan.


And here's the artist Sam "The Dot Man" with his hand in his pocket. :)


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Have a great weekend everyone. Happy PhotoHunting!

Continue reading "PhotoHunt: Hands" »

March 30, 2009

Let's Get It On (No Cover Jinx)


I had to laugh when I went to the grocery store this weekend and saw the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. I had just mentioned to Trek Capri that the Marvin Gaye song “Lets Get It On” will always remind me of Venice because when I walked into the church of Santo Stefano in December, that song was playing over the loudspeaker before the Joy Singers concert, and it was so funny that I'll never forget it.

And here it shows up again, this time connected to the Heels. As for the dreaded Sports Illustrated cover jinx…...many sports fans worry about it, but I don’t. For one, Michael Jordan was on the cover of SI a record 49 times and it didn’t seem to hurt him too much. :) Plus, it's sports which means there's gonna be a winner and a loser, and SI isn't going to always predict it right.

But enough sports fans believe in the cover jinx that Sports Illustrated published an issue about it with a black cat on the cover!

The Tar Heels have been on the cover of SI many times over the years, and I’ve got copies of all the magazines they were on. Here are a few of my favorites:

Continue reading "Let's Get It On (No Cover Jinx)" »

April 6, 2009

Tonight's the Night

I stayed in Chapel Hill after Saturday night's game and yesterday morning, I went and walked around campus and town for a while before I drove home. I'll be heading back over there after work today (and this day is dragging!). Thanks everyone for all the well wishes for my Heels!

Here are a few photos I took yesterday. The UNC- Chapel Hill campus is so beautiful, especially in spring.

UNC- Chapel Hill

Lots of Hoopla downtown on Franklin Street



There's a building downtown with all these gargoyles on the roof, flying the Tar Heel flag


Continue reading "Tonight's the Night" »

April 7, 2009

How Sweet It Is!

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina when the Heels WIN IT ALL!

And it was so great that instead of a nail-biter, we got a nice relaxing old fashioned BLOW OUT of a game! What an awesome team. I'm so happy for those players.


Dancing in the Streets of Chapel Hill last night with 40,000 fellow Tar Heel fans


Continue reading "How Sweet It Is!" »

April 17, 2009

PhotoHunt: Purple


This week's theme is "Purple."

A few of the purples of Spring time.

A couple of crocus:


A spring sunset in my backyard:



Even though this vine borders on being a noxious weed, I love it, and it's blooming like mad right now. So beautiful and it smells amazing!


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day !

Earth Day 2009: The Green Generation

A few photos from the Earth Day parade that I went to this past weekend at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Silk Hope, NC. It's such a wonderful festival in beautiful rural North Carolina - I heard lots of great music but this parade was my favorite part. Puppets created by NC artists/activists Paperhand Puppet Intervention whose mission statement includes:

Our vision is inspired by our love for the earth and its creatures (including humans) as well as our belief in justice, equality, and peace.





Continue reading "Happy Earth Day !" »

May 1, 2009

PhotoHunt: Walking


This week's theme is "Walking."

Walking with a book on your head is supposed to help you learn good posture or at least that's what they told us in grade school when I was a kid.

When I saw this sculpture on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, I flashed back to Health Class when all of us kids would walk around like this with books crashing to the ground. It's not that easy to do!


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a nice weekend. Happy May Day!

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.

-- Buddhist saying

May 12, 2009

The Heels Go to Washington


The National Champion Tar Heels went to the White House yesterday where President Obama praised them in a speech, and they gave him his very own Tar Heel jersey. This was all over the local news last night and it was fun to hear Obama's speech; he was really funny.

He thanked the Heels for "salvaging my bracket and vindicating me before the entire nation" and remembered that he had played ball with them in Chapel Hill last year during his campaign.

"I'm not sure whose luck rubbed off on who. There was just a good vibe going on there, because they're now national champions and I'm now president," Obama said. :) And after they gave him the jersey and an autographed picture, he said, "Now, if somebody could just present me a jump shot. I need one of those."

Continue reading "The Heels Go to Washington" »

June 5, 2009

PhotoHunt: Advertisement


This week's theme is "Advertisement."

Two vintage ads plus one modern one, all found here in NC. And I didn't notice this until a few minutes ago, but all of these are ads for products made with lots of sugar. :)

Remember Chiclets (that dainty mint-covered, candy-coated chewing gum)?

001 (2)

Iconic Coca-Cola ads on an old country store:


And a modern ad on a truck. I've never had anything from this bakery but I like their ad:


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

June 12, 2009

PhotoHunt: Lock


This week's theme is "Lock."

This is a roadside stand where I stop and shop sometimes. Nice stuff for sale but what's unusual about this place is that there is never anyone there. You shop on the honor system.

They do have a lock on the money box but still, they trust people to put money in the box (and not grab the box and run off with it). There used to be more stands like this when I was a kid; it made me happy to find this one.





You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

June 21, 2009

Honeysuckle Sorbet

Honeysuckle Sorbet

I didn’t participate in Slow Scoopers last summer but they inspired me to buy an ice cream maker which has been in winter storage but is now out and cranking! This amazing sorbet is the first thing I’ve made this year and also, this was my first ever experience of foraging in the wild for ingredients. :)

There are a few things I’ve eaten in my life that were so good they almost made me swoon and this sorbet is one of them. It’s a cult classic dessert here in North Carolina and every spring, people flock to my favorite local restaurant, Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, to eat this stuff. Bill Smith (the chef at Crooks’ and a 2009 James Beard finalist for best regional chef) created this recipe after doing research into medieval Arabic and Sicilian recipes for flower ices.

Pretty much every Southern kid learns how to pluck a honeysuckle blossom, pull the stamen out, and then eat the tiny drop of honey inside the flower. Well, this sorbet tastes like a combination of that honey droplet and the aroma of honeysuckle when it’s in bloom.


Continue reading "Honeysuckle Sorbet" »

June 27, 2009

PhotoHunt: Flags


This week's theme is "Flags."

Various and sundry flags seen at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival. The first photo shows Buddhist prayer flags in a tree.





You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend.

July 8, 2009

Costoluto Genovese

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the best tomato I’ve ever had is of Italian descent.

I grow lots of different kinds of tomatoes every summer and like to try new varieties, especially heirlooms. Even though my success with heirloom tomatoes has been mixed, I have found that they are much tastier than more common workhorse hybrids like Better Boy, Big Boy etc. Heirloom plants don’t usually yield as much but still, they are worth planting if you’re obsessed with tomatoes like most Southerners are.

When I was buying tomato plants at the Farmer’s Market this spring, a vendor pointed out the Costoluto Genovese plants and told me that it was the best tomato she’d ever had. And I have to agree with her. This Italian heirloom (the one in the photo was the first on my plant to ripen) is absolutely delicious with intense tomato flavor and the perfect mix of sweet and acid. I ate about half of it plain (sliced with salt) and used the rest to make tomato sandwiches on multigrain bread with mayo, salt, and pepper.

It’s kind of a funky looking tomato with those deep ridges on top. I’ve read that most Italians use it for sauce (it’s a fleshy tomato inside without a lot of water or seeds) but it was truly awesome raw. Homegrown tomatoes are one of the best things about summer here in NC and make me much more tolerant of the heat, humidity, and the awful bugs.


July 28, 2009

Community Art

Here's some cool art that I saw at the mall in Chapel Hill a couple of weekends ago. It's called Our Stories, in Focus and over 1,000 members of the community contributed images to this project.

From the website:

"This spring members of the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and University of North Carolina communities were invited to share personal stories and family mementos as part of the 2009 Community Art and History Project.

Participants were asked to look more closely at their personal and community histories by considering these questions: What brought you or your family to this place? and What is the legacy you want to leave in your community? Participants brought pieces of their history (photos, letters, etc.) to community workshops.....where local artists Leah Sobsey and Lynn Bregman Blass scanned and photographed the mementos. The artists then created a community portrait out of these collected images..."


From a distance, it looks like a giant windsock but when you get closer, you see the collection of memories. It's a lot of fun to look at it all, plus I love the whole concept of a community artwork. There was also an oral history part of this project that recorded people's stories about the images they contributed. We tend to think of a lone artist in the studio communing with his/her muse, but group projects like this are such a great idea. I love this one.



Continue reading "Community Art" »

August 7, 2009

PhotoHunt: Low


This week's theme is "Low."

Low tide at Surf City, NC, and the beach is wide.


At high tide, the waves come all the way up to the dunes, and there is barely any beach at all.

Topsail Island

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

August 14, 2009

PhotoHunt: Artificial


This week's theme is "Artificial."

Artificial flowers, artificial vanilla flavoring, and artificial Christmas trees all came to mind but I don't have photos of any of those.

The dictionary defines artificial as "made by humans as opposed to nature" and that made me think of these creatures from the brand-new Dinosaur Trail at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. They are very cool-looking but they aren't real. :)




You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.


August 28, 2009

PhotoHunt: Surprise


This week's theme is "Surprise."

There's a section of the Museum of Life and Science in Durham that has several carnivorous bug-eating plants including this one, the pitcher plant. Insects get trapped in the pitchers and the plant eats them. My nephews LOVE looking for bugs inside the pitchers.



The last time we were there, we were surprised to see a little face peering out at us from inside one of the pitchers! We thought it was a lizard but then it jumped out and we saw that it was a frog. Cute little guy. Maybe he was trying to steal some bugs from the plant, but we wondered if the plant might be trying to eat him too.

Frog found in pitcher plant

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.


September 22, 2009

A few scenes (and a meal) from the Farmer's Market


The first day of autumn - I can't believe it! It sure doesn't feel like fall here in NC today - it's warm and muggy. While I love fall and its colors and the cooler temperatures, I sure am going to miss the tomatoes. They're not completely gone yet though - my tomato plants have slowed down but I'm still getting a few cherry tomatoes, and there are plenty of tomatoes at the market. I'm trying to eat as many as I can before the first frost. Love the colors in the photo above.

One good thing about buying from the people who actually grow your food is that they can tell you how to cook things you've never tried before. Here's a meal I made a couple of weekends ago using two brand-new (to me) ingredients.

First are padron peppers. When I saw the sign that said "Spanish tapas peppers," I knew I had to try them. The farmer told me to saute them over medium high heat for about 10 minutes and then put some coarse salt on them. He also told me that these are sometimes called roulette peppers since every once in a while, you get one that's really spicy! These are so tender that you don't have to remove the seeds and stems, you can just cook and eat them whole. Delicious (and I didn't get a super hot one this time).

padron peppers

Here's a case where you can't judge a bean by its cover (or shell). I was familiar with Christmas lima beans because they are pictured on the cover of "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver (a great book!) and I was excited to find them for sale at the market. The farmer told me to shell them and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender. They are easy to shell because the beans are so big and as you can see, the beans inside are absolutely beautiful.

Christmas lima beans

Christmas Lima beans

Continue reading "A few scenes (and a meal) from the Farmer's Market" »

October 9, 2009

PhotoHunt: Sports


This week's theme is "Sports."

I've got a couple of sports-related signs from here in North Carolina.

First is this eye-catching warning sign at the historic Durham Athletic Park baseball stadium:

Durham Athletic Park sign

And this one is in a shop window in Chapel Hill. Translation: I love the UNC Tar Heel basketball team (2009 NCAA Champions). And I do. Go Heels!


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.


April 9, 2010

PhotoHunt: Vertical


This week's theme is "Vertical."

Vertical poles holding up an old water tower~


A sculpture at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. It's called "Crossroads" and the artist is Martha Jackson-Jarvis. From the museum brochure:

A tall sentinel of glass, carnelian, and shattered brick marking the juncture of two trails.


Same sculpture, different day. The boys in both photos are my nephews who love to hike the sculpture trails at this museum.


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


April 20, 2010

Smallest Cathedral in the USA

I had no idea that the smallest cathedral in the U.S. is right here in North Carolina until the place made the news last week, and I realized that I'd taken some photos of it a couple of years ago when I was in downtown Raleigh.


The Sacred Heart Cathedral is a sweet little gothic church, built in 1922. North Carolina was the last state in the nation to get a Catholic diocese (in 1924) and that's when this church was declared a cathedral. From the article:

In the Roman Catholic world, a cathedral is the bishop's home church. It holds his throne and shepherd's staff. The word "cathedral" comes from the Latin for seat or chair. Cathedrals are typically the grandest of all the churches in the diocese.

The article explains that this cathedral only seats 320 worshippers and on Easter Sunday this year, there was an overflow crowd of several thousand people participating in Mass via closed circuit TV from a nearby hotel. Sounds like they do need a bigger place. I'd like to see the inside of this church with its ""floral-theme terazzo floor" and bright blue ceiling inlaid with 14-carat gold leaf stars.


Continue reading "Smallest Cathedral in the USA" »

April 27, 2010

Earth Day Parade

A few photos from the Earth Day parade at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Silk Hope, NC. Kids of all ages were having a blast as the parade followed musicians around the Shakori farm. The puppets are from NC artists/activists Paperhand Puppet Intervention.

I had a busy but very fun Earth Day weekend. I went to Shakori on Saturday and then the Grand Re-Opening of the NC Museum of Art on Sunday. Will blog about our awesome new museum soon!

Earth Day

Earth Day Parade

Earth Day Parade at Shakori Hills

Continue reading "Earth Day Parade" »

May 25, 2010

North Carolina Museum of Art

A few photos from the grand re-opening of the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh. The museum closed last year so that the permanent collection could be moved to a new building. And what an amazing building it is!

I've always loved this museum - it has a nice collection with several works that I love to visit again and again. But the best part is that it's surrounded by a 164-acre Museum Park with hiking trails and all kinds of cool enormous sculptures. My nephews and I love to hike this art trail. The museum also has an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and movies in the summer. And now, in addition to the new ultra-mod building, there are close to 100 more works of art, both inside and out.

The light inside the new building is incredible.


The new building is surrounded with sculpture gardens and reflecting pools.



During the re-opening weekend, a dance troupe was there peforming both inside and out; it was fun to see.



Stainless steel tree on the hill - I love this.


More to come...

May 26, 2010

Temporary Art


I guess when you look at the really big picture (the one that has a billion-year timeline), all art is fragile and subject to decay, and therefore temporary. But the whole concept of intentionally temporary art is very intriguing to me. My first experience with it was many years ago when I went to a museum to see Tibetan Buddhist monks creating a sand mandala. They spent several weeks meditatively “painting” this huge spiritual circle with colored sand – slowly and carefully – and then when it was finished (and it was so gorgeous!), they destroyed it and moved on. A great Buddhist lesson in non-attachment and impermanence, I guess.

The photo at the top is part of the hiking trail at the NC Museum of Art park and when you walked along this path, you would come to this huge sculpture called “To See Jennie Smile” by Steven Siegel.


Not sure what the name means, but this thing always made me smile. For one, when you’d glimpse it from a distance through the woods, it looked like some kind of enormous beehive. And also, my nephews went wild the first time they saw it – they loved it too. It’s just a very cool sight, and we visited it many times.

The sculpture was made of several tons of newspaper (the Raleigh News and Observer, to be specific, a paper I used to subscribe to before the Internet came along). The boys loved the fact that when you got close, you could still read some text on the paper. Here are the boys checking it out~


Installed in the Museum Park in 2006, the sculpture was intentionally temporary since of course, paper left out in the elements is going to rot. I love the playfulness of putting it in the woods surrounded by trees, since paper comes from trees, and I love the whole concept of giving the wood pulp back to Mother Nature.

Even though I knew it was temporary, I imagined that it would slowly sink and rot away, and I didn’t expect it to be quite so short-lived. But last week, they had to demolish it because it had started to lean and had become too dangerous. The museum posted photos of the demolition on their Flickr site. I’m going to miss it!

Continue reading "Temporary Art" »

June 2, 2010

Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky

Cloud Chamber

My favorite work of art on the NC Museum of Art hiking trail is this one: Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky by British artist Chris Drury. I love visiting this magical little place. Not only does it look like some kind of enchanted fairy home, get's a huge pinhole camera!

There are benches inside - you go in, shut the door, and sit there for a while to let your eyes adjust to the darkness. And then the pinhole in the roof turns the whole place into a camera and inverts an image of the sky onto the walls and floors of the chamber.

Even's different every time you visit it, depending on the time of year, the position of the sun, the density of the leaves in the forest. Sometimes you see the shadows of the clouds, other times the trees. One time, a perfect laser-like beam of light streamed in through the pinhole, and my nephews went wild (it reminded them of Indiana Jones).

The boys entering the Cloud Chamber~


It doesn't look that big, but I can stand up easily inside, and there's room for at least 8 people or so on the benches~

NC Museum of Art

Here it is in winter, without the green weedy stuff growing on the roof~

Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky

The artist's website: Land Artist, Working with Nature. He's built cloud chambers all over the world, but mainly in Europe. We are so lucky to have one here in NC!

From his website:

A large preoccupation in my work has been the exploration of what inner and outer nature mean. These cloud chambers are still, silent, meditative and mysterious spaces. They are often built underground, so that in these dark spaces what is outside is brought in and reversed. Clouds drift silently across the floor.

June 8, 2010


Another sculpture I love in the NC Museum of Art park, this one is Gyre by artist Thomas Sayre. This thing is so monumentally huge and is visible from so many different parts of the park, and it changes shape depending on where you are. There are spotlights shining on it at night and it looks very cool; next time I'm over there for a concert, I'll get a photo of that.




Continue reading "Gyre" »

June 10, 2010

Art in the Landscape

A few more sculptures from the NCMA park~

Collapse I by South African artist Ledelle Moe. This sculpture makes me want to lay down in the grass and take a nap. :)


And then deep in the woods, an untitled work by the same artist. It's meant to represent a human figure rolled up in a ball, but the boys used it as as opportunity to act out the scene when Indiana Jones escapes from the huge rolling boulder. Interactive art!



Continue reading "Art in the Landscape" »

June 18, 2010

PhotoHunt: Six


This week's theme is "Six."

Tough theme this week - I had to look through the archives for quite a while before I found this photo with six bales of hay in a field. This is a very typical sight when you drive through rural North Carolina (developers, stay away!).


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


July 30, 2010

PhotoHunt: Public


This week's theme is "Public."

I love this theme! It was challenging though because there are just so many possiblities, and it took me a while to narrow it down.

This choice was a no-brainer.


I have lots of photos of public art, street murals and such. Even when I don't love an individual work of art, I do love the fact that it's there, out in public, and I wish there were more of it.

This mural is very cool. See the faces?


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the oldest public university in the USA. The photo below shows campus landmark, the Old Well.

Old Well

Shortly after I took the pic of the Old Well, I saw this little piece of public art on a campus building~


I could go on and on with this theme but I think I'll stop here. Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


September 2, 2010

PhotoHunt: HOT!


This week's theme is "HOT!"

It's been a wickedly hot summer here in NC (officially the hottest on record, they say), but none of the photos I've taken recently show how sweltering it's been. I couldn't find anything else for this theme in my archives but then inspiration struck in my local grocery store.

Habanero peppers. Beautiful but eat at your own risk! I once made a Jamaican stew using one of these peppers, and it was so hot that it was inedible. I had to throw it out in the yard.


Wasabi peas. Love these things even though they make me cry~


Hot candy. I've never tried it.


Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Love this stuff, but the name is misleading. It's been made here in North Carolina since 1929. I guess they didn't think "North Carolina Pete" would inspire people to buy a hot sauce, and Texas does have a spicier reputation.

Texas Pete is pretty mild as far as hot sauces go. It's vinegar-based so it's really more sour than spicy, but the flavor is good. It has a score of 737 on the Scoville Heat Scale. By contrast, those deadly habaneros' score is 100,000 - 350,000!


Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend. Keep cool out there. Happy long holiday weekend to those of you celebrating Labor Day.

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


October 15, 2010

PhotoHunt: Miniature


This week's theme is "Miniature."

I've written about this place before but had more photos. Plus, it's just the coolest miniature thing in my archives. It's Shangri-la, a little stone folk art village in Prospect Hill, NC.


There's a miniature stone church~


And even a miniature outhouse~


Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


February 18, 2011

PhotoHunt: Silhouette


This week's theme is "Silhouette."

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for this theme.

Downtown Durham, NC~

durham mural

Also in Durham, a mural showing the silhouette of the city skyline~

durham mural

And this one is my nephew, taken last weekend in Raleigh on the NC Museum of Art hiking trail~


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


April 22, 2011

PhotoHunt: Dusty


This week's theme is "Dusty."

The guy in the orange shirt playing the mandolin is my cousin. His name is Dustin but everyone calls him Dusty. :)


Nothing to do with dust but here's a "Happy Earth Day, Happy Easter, Happy Spring" photo. Hope everyone has a nice weekend.


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


May 20, 2011

PhotoHunt: Cluttered


This week's theme is "Cluttered."

This is a work of art at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh. From a distance, it looks kinda cluttered. But when you move closer, you see that it's a bunch of little faces, 277 of them and no two alike. I think it's very cool. The name of the piece is "Congregation" and the artist is Ledelle Moe.

Congregation by Ledelle Moe

Congregation (detail)

Thanks for visiting and have a nice weekend.

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

June 10, 2011

PhotoHunt: Triangle


This week's theme is "Triangle."

This is the third time I've done this theme but that's okay - it's a fun theme. The first time I showed the decorative Byzantine triangles on the church of Santi Maria e Donato in Murano; the second time I shared several photos that included a door in Venice along with a rock and painting in NC.

This time I've got a sculpture from the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh. It's called "The Green Eye of the Pyramid," and the artists are Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychotová.

I had two photographs of it, taken on two different visits to the museum. In the first one, the curtains behind the sculpture are open and you can see the architecture of the museum outside. In the second one, the curtains are closed. I couldn't decide which one I liked better so I decided to post them both. The light in this museum is amazing!



Thanks for visiting and have a nice weekend.

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

December 16, 2011

PhotoHunt: Natural

This week's PhotoHunt theme is "Natural."

I love to visit the Magic Wings Butterfly House at the NC Museum of Life and Science. It's a large conservatory that recreates the natural habitat of various tropical flora and fauna. It's especially fun to visit in the winter because it's toasty warm in there, and it's nice to see so much green when everything outside is brown. Here are a few shots from a recent visit:

Not sure what kind of butterfly this is, but he was very cooperative about posing~

Magic Wings Butterfly House

This very cool plant is called a Chenille or Red Hot Cat's Tail. It's native to New Guinea and Maylaysia~

Butterfly House

This is a malachite butterfly hanging upside-down. These are native to South America. What a beautiful creature!

upside down

Gattina of Keyhole Pictures hosts a Photohunt each week; a list of upcoming themes is here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!


June 29, 2012

PhotoHunt: Street Art

A few months ago, I spent the day in Winston-Salem, NC. Like many cities in North Carolina, Winston-Salem is in the midst of a downtown urban renewal program. I love seeing cities like this coming back to life. Winston's downtown arts district has lots of galleries and murals on every block. It was fun to walk around and see it all. I love public art!

Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem, NC

This was my favorite. Love the colors, love the way the bird is flying through that door.

Winston-Salem, NC

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend. If you're in the midst of this heat wave, keep cool and drink lots of water!

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.


July 3, 2012

Y is for You-Pick

I went to a you-pick blueberry farm this morning. I went at 8 AM to beat the heat but even so, it was still pretty hot. The place where I picked uses natural growing practices and no pesticides. I found it on Pick Your Own which lists you-pick places all over the world.


They are such beautiful plants.




Here's my bucket; I picked about 4 pounds. Most of them are in the freezer but I saved a few to eat today and tomorrow. Happy 4th of July to those who celebrate it!

my bucket

Visit the home of ABC Wednesday to find more Round 10 participants!


February 9, 2013

PhotoHunt: Landscapes

Happy Saturday! Here are a couple of scenes from a recent daytrip to the North Carolina mountains (Ashe County).

Todd NC

You can see why they call them the Blue Ridge Mountains~

Blue Ridge Mountains

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

May 4, 2013

PhotoHunt: Upside Down

A sculpture at the NC Museum of Art - I'm not sure who the artist is but I'm sure you'll agree, it works for this week's theme!

upside down

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

December 21, 2013

PhotoHunt: Decorations

Happy Holidays!

I love this theme since decorations are so much fun to photograph.

December 12 was the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The last time I visited a Catholic church was several years ago in Venice, but I heard that a local church had an amazing altar so I went. Click on the photo for more images - it was beautiful. All fresh flowers, roses and lilies, and the scent was incredible. Though there was a big difference between this altar and the ones I've visited in Italy.....LED candles! I put my donation in the box, pushed a button, and the candle came on. :)

Our Lady of Guadalupe

I have a set on Flickr of some of my favorite holiday decorations, mostly roadside nativity scenes here in NC. Lots of people decorate their yards for the holidays, and if I spot a nativity, I pull over.

Many people have plastic figurines in their yards so this first one is kinda special. Folk art at its best - I can't imagine how long it took to sew and create all these nativity characters.

Roadside Nativity #1

Away in a Manger

But even the store-bought decorations have their special magic, especially at night~

Roadside Nativity #4

I like the black/white simplicity of this one~

roadside nativity #7

And from the sublime to the ridiculous, here is my all-time fave indoor holiday decoration. One of my aunts gave it to me as a gift and every year when I bring it out, I laugh. Cheerleader reindeers with sneakers on...who thought of such a thing?!?


I love Christmas lights, LED or other~


And now for a few shots from Venice. First, a glass Christmas tree next to the Basilica di San Marco (sponsored by the Casino di Venezia).

Christmas in Venice

In Venice, you see a lot of these climbing Santas scaling buildings~

Christmas in Venice

And I've posted this one before but it's my fave. The little blue tree in a campo in Venice.

blue christmas

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend. Have a great holiday next week! :)

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Churches in Venice in the Carolina in My Mind category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Comfort and Joy is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


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