The Framily

Hawaii’s Over the Hill…

It feels like it’s been a while since the framily got together (not counting the trip to Maine Paul, Ben & I just got back from- more on that later), so I was left with no option but to host a little get together this weekend.

Clearly it was only appropriate the theme was a Hawaiian Luau, considering that Sunday was the 52nd anniversary of their statehood.  Chuquin and I headed out that afternoon and did our best to find some things to spice up the apartment.  I’d say we did pretty well…

 

Only things missing were grass skirts and coconut bras…

HAWAIIAN LEIS:  7

Finding great leis was a bit harder than anticipated, however.  I knew immediately where to head, as I’ve hit up Party City for leis in the past (surprisingly effective classroom incentive for my 11th graders).   But I did not anticipate quite how expensive they’d be… $2 a pop for the average ones, and $3-$4 for the super colorful, thick and flowery ones.  I fell in love immediately with a bright yellow one, but forced myself to put it back when I realized I couldn’t afford one for everyone.  Bad taste for the hostess to sport a high-end lei while handing out the skimpy ones.

Ultimately we went with lei headbands, as they were two for $1, so I could purchase enough for everyone.  I added in a couple colorful smaller neck leis as well, and I’d say the combo did the trick.  That said, if money were no option we would have scored some awesome fluorescent ones.

 

ROSEMARY PINEAPPLE PIZZA: 10

I haven’t been this ecstatic about a new food option since Friday.  We picked up a bunch of stuff at Trader Joe’s in the morning, and after playing some beach volleyball out back decided to throw it all together.  We did pretty well, ending up with guacamole (it’s so good any country/state would be lucky to have it as part of their cuisine), fruit salsa, homemade tortilla chips, and lastly this delicious pizza.

I can’t claim any credit, as it was entirely Chuquin, but please allow me to gush for a minute.  It started with the $1.09 whole wheat dough from Trader Joes, covered with an olive oil/rosemary/Italian season blend, then topped with cut up pineapple (okay, I’ll take credit for this), and some mozerella soy cheese.  Yup, that’s right.  SOY CHEESE.  Those non-believers have never tried this brand, on this pizza.  LIFE CHANGING.  And I’d say that almost everyone who tried it would agree.

Couldn’t resist, and made a quesidilla tonight with the leftovers.  Almost as good, but not quite.

HAWAII’S VEGAN FRIENDLINESS: 2

While pineapple is certainly vegan, virtually every recipe we found online was not.  Hence why guacamole became Hawaiian due to my ability to make/change the house rules.

THE FRAMILY’S VEGAN FRIENDLINESS: 9

While I hate to be a pain to those who haven’t chosen a vegan lifestyle, I’m constantly debating with myself whether or not I can ask others to do their best to bring vegan foods while I’m hosting.  While the cheeses and eggs don’t bother me much, I must admit I really am not a fan of tons of meat parading in whenever I host dinners.  Last night had to have been the most vegan friendly dinner we’ve had, with the only exception being a little tuna.  And what’s more Hawaiian than tuna???  Exceptions can sometimes be happily made 🙂

Check out my plate full of delicious veganness…

MURPH & KOTA’S PARTY PARTICIPATION: 9

There was no hulaing, but they certainly looked good… the headband leis fit their necks perfectly J  In fact, they’re still wearing them today…

 

 


All in all another successful framily dinner.  The framily is constantly growing and changing, and it was great to have a whole bunch of new folks join.  Thanks Jill, Steve, Dan, Amanda, Jordan, Emily, Chris, Mauro & Chuquin!

 

Until next time, just living for the tens 🙂

Advertisements

Castle in the Sky

Last year for Laura’s birthday we rented a log cabin at Black Mountain, a framily favorite, and competed in our second Company Climbing Team competition.  We enjoyed the Snuggie, first met Maggie, and walked the streets of downtown Asheville.  You may recall…

This year?  We decided to rent a castle in the sky.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Check it out…

THE CASTLE: 10

There is absolutely no way to rate this anything less than a 10.  Here’s why:

  • 8 bedrooms (one with 13 twin beds)
  • GIANT kitchen (see pictures below) that could practically fit everyone in it at once
  • Billiard room
  • Movie theatre with 12 recliners and Rock Band
  • Zip line
  • Room full of children’s toys and books
  • Indoor endless swimming pool
  • Hot tub
  • Olympic sized trampoline
  • iMac
  • iPads
  • Flat screen TVs EVERYWHERE
  • On top of a mountain
  • House intercom system

What am I missing?  Pretty sure this is every child’s dream come true.  Add in 25 of the most amazing people in the world and it’s the closest I’ve ever come to rating something above a 10.  Out of respect for the system, I’ll stick with the 10 🙂

THE VIEW: 10

There are all kinds of possible views from the top of a mountain, but as far as I’m concerned if you’ve got a 360 and it’s beautiful it’s a 10.  The view that was a 10 minute hike from the castle met all criteria, and led to some awesome walks in the morning, afternoon and at sunset.  My heart is smiling 🙂

FOOD: 9

If past framily gatherings have shown you anything, you probably could have guessed the spread would have been pretty incredible.

This doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Vegan breakfast, a chili cookoff, every snack known to man, a castle birthday cake, the most addicting oyster crackers of all time, bread bowls, vegan waffles, pineapple bread pudding, birthday coffee and much, MUCH more made this weekend cause for a week full of trips to Crowley’s (my local gym).

-1 for the amount of food that inevitably went to waste…


LAURA’S BIRTHDAY SCAVENGER HUNT:

I’ll let Laura rate this one.  But if I had to guess, Katie’s brainchild was a WILD success.  With a house this big, how can you not arrange a scavenger hunt?  Complete with beautiful poetry, and trips from trampoline to pool bottom, Laura definitely had to work for her gifts this year.  Plus it was fun for all of us to watch 🙂

(Can you see the zipline???)

THE MAN TUB: 8

I’m pretty sure at first glance I thought they were about to head over Niagara Falls.  At second glance I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.  The hot tub outside was not your classic hot tub, and I’d be willing to bet was not meant to fit 5 full grown men… but they made it look good 🙂

-2 for how many failed attempts at pictures happened before this (finally) blog friendly photo.

CHILI COOKOFF: 9

For dinner Saturday night we had many chefs in the kitchen, all competing for the best chili.  While I can’t award a winner since the only one I ate was the vegan version, they all looked AMAZING.  Throw in some Persian rice from Mazzi, and it made quite the meal.

-1 for the food jealousy that occurred… especially the white chili that looked, and smelled, AMAZING.


PAUL’S BREAD BOWL: 8

What a creative solution to the problem of which chili to choose… a carefully carved bread bowl with two slots- one for each kind 🙂  -2 because breadbowls never fit as much soup as you want, they soak up all the liquid, and often leave you so full you can’t have seconds.

But the idea was brilliant.

SUNSET ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN: 10

Not much more to say about this one.  Life is good 🙂

BEING SURROUNDED BY AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, AND INSPIRING FRIENDS AND FRAMILY: 10!!!

I love these people so freaking much.  I am the luckiest person ever to have somehow stumbled upon them 2 years ago, and am thankful to be able to still find time to see everyone despite living 2 hours away now.  I can’t wait for the day when my dream street becomes a reality, and I can somehow convince everyone I love in my life to move onto the same street as me.  Oh how good life would be 🙂

RE-ENTRY: 2

I love my students, and I’m actually excited to return to the classroom on Mondays, but it’s so hard to adjust back to the real world after a weekend like this.  It’s also hard to return to a house where you live alone when you’ve spent all weekend surrounded by people.  Saying goodbye all the time is hard.

Until next time, just living for weekends like this 🙂

A Couple Bring Backs…

Weekend ratings to come shortly, but in the meantime here are two awesome things brought back during our castle stay 🙂

MASH: 8

Constant entertainment, this fortune telling device is also shockingly accurate.

It turns out Ben is going to wear a band-aid tux to his wedding, marry Blanche from the Golder Girls and have Paul as a pet.

Cant’ wait to see that in action.

-2 for the time consumption, considering you’ll only getting a fortune for one person.  Other than that?  Perfect.

MAGIC TRICKS: 8

Charlie has decided that this week he’s going to bring back the magic tricks.  He decided to try them out on us first, and I’ve gotta admit we were all pretty impressed.  A brilliant combination of trickery and slight of hand, it was the best magic I’ve seen in a while.

-2 for the lack of flying and bodies being cut in half.  I suppose I’ll have to see David Copperfield to truly bring back all my favorites parts of magic…

Until next time, just living for the tens!

Another day (or three) in the Mountains

I love that I haven’t updated this since my last trip to the mountains… clearly it’s been a busy (and exciting) summer.  I doubt that this will slow down after the big move this weekend, but we’ll see how I can attempt to fit more regular blogging into the changes.  In the meantime, I just have to blog about yet another fabulous trip to the mountains 🙂

ROAD TRIP UP: 10

The boys had to work on Friday, but Laura, Snook and I decided to take advantage of an extra day and headed up Friday morning.  Crashing for free at a friend’s place, it was the perfect destination for my last weekend before moving.  Laura and Snook rode in one car with Preston, with Dakota, Murph and I rode in the Sooby.

I must admit I haven’t driven anywhere alone recently, and I forgot how much I appreciate time to think, sing and drive.

Friday was the perfect opportunity, along with a nice lunch stop where we picnicked on the grass 🙂  One of the rare trips where I actually would have liked to have driven some more…

After arriving Laura and I headed out to the Watauga with the pups to stretch our legs a bit.  Only about 5 minutes down the road from where we were staying… PERFECT!

DRIVING ON THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY: 8

Saturday began with a trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of my favorite places to drive in North Carolina (possibly anywhere).  Yielding views like this makes it pretty amazing… I couldn’t resist stopping and forcing the dogs to take pictures with me 🙂

However, there are downsides to driving on the Parkway as well.

1) if you’re trying to get somewhere quickly, this is not the way to do it.  All the tourists take the speed limit extremely seriously, however in light of point number 2, this might be  good thing.

2) As the driver I’m always distracted by the incredible views, and am thankful when I arrive where I’m going in one piece, still on the road.

DAKOTA’S PREFERRED ROAD TRIP POSITION: 10

Way better than when he lays on top of the crash pad (and spends the entire trip sliding around every time I turn or stop), and ADORABLE.  Didn’t even realize this was what he was doing behind me until we stopped along the parkway and I discovered this…

GRANDMOTHER BOULDERING:9

I’ve heard of this place for a while, but now I actually know where it is and could find it again.  SCORE!

About a 15 minute walk/hike off the Blue Ridge parkway, there’s a large collection of pretty sweet rocks.  Luckily Bill and Jen were headed up this weekend as well, as they came prepared with pages worth of beta.

While my climbing wasn’t as good as I would like (what did I expect after climbing so little this summer?), the other climbers were great, and I probably had as much fun taking pictures and being outside as I did actually climbing.  Plus, now I can head back anytime I want 🙂

MY CLIMBING PHOTOGRAPHY: 9

It just keeps getting better 🙂  Now if I could just get my autofocus to work…

NOT SHOWERING FOR THREE DAYS: 7

After leaving for the mountains I decided to protest showering for the extent of the trip, and it proved to be pretty nice.  Always better when you’re actually camping outside and don’t have access to a shower, it saved time and the trouble of worrying about doing my hair.  Pretty much didn’t touch it the whole trip.  Perhaps next time I’ll take it a step further and finally dread my hair like I’ve always dreamed about… was getting pretty close by the end of the trip anyways.

After a morning of climbing, a visit to a local Art festival, and some lunch from the Ham Shoppe, we headed down to the river for some much needed relaxation and swimming.

PICNICING BY THE WATAUGA: 9!

Only wish we had found a deeper swimming hole…

NORTH CAROLINA SKIES: 10

The skies are beautiful all over the state, but this one might take the cake.

HIKING TO THE TOP OF GRANDFATHER: 7.5

After another fabulous breakfast at the nearby Grandview Diner, Scott and I decided to tackle another trail up Grandfather.  The Profile Trail takes off literally about 5 minutes from where we were staying, which was PERFECT!

About 3.5 miles up we hit a fork… having gone up Calloway Peak last time we were in town, we decided to head towards Attic Window Peak, hoping to find some good views.

Did we ever 🙂

We spent about as much time taking pictures as we did hiking… okay, not really but pretty darn close.  Can you blame us?

We came to one overlook that had a straight cliff going off the side, which led to me freaking out, becoming a bag of nerves, and of course insisting on a photo shoot 🙂

Sadly we forgot to pack any food, and didn’t think about the fact that we wouldn’t return until 3.  Needless to say the hike down involved some hunger, exhaustion and shaky legs.  We finally made it back to the bottom 🙂

-.5: Not actually being sure we’d found the peak and having to turn around once we’d gone far enough.

-1: Extreme hunger

-1: Weakness that came with the extreme hunger on the way down

Sadly we headed home from there, and now it’s time to recover back in the triangle for my last week before shipping out 🙂

More on the move later, and until then, just living for the tens!

Race for the Cure!

Sadly I missed last year’s Race for the Cure in the triangle, as I was headed out to LA for Teach For America’s summer institute.  Seeing as I’m here for the summer finishing up my Masters, there was no way in the world I was missing it this year.  Especially with the year my mom has had fighting breast cancer, it was especially meaningful to be there.  I can’t believe I’ve never been before, and think I will do my best to never miss one again.  What a powerful day…

LAURA’S LOVE POSSE: 10!

I raced with the most incredible team there, formed in celebration of my favorite Laura DeLoye, who was diagnosed with breast cancer 1 year and 7 months ago (is that right Laura?).  The group formed then to show her some love, and continues to spread the loving, especially when it comes to raising money for breast cancer.

Plus we’re just plain hard core.

OUR GAME FACES: 7

At least two of us were on the right track.  But seriously, are you guys trying to outsmile the competition?

OUR TIME: 5

Let’s just say we’re lucky we were participating in the non-competitive race, as it took us over 30 minutes just to get to the starting line…

And I suppose our photo stops didn’t help either…

Or the large crowds…

But we made it to the end in less than an hour and a half!  For a 5K that’s brilliantly embarassing.

Just meant extra QT with the framily 🙂

I PINK I CAN: 10!

Best. team. name. EVER.

ENTERTAINMENT: 10!

I promise this high rating has nothing to do with the fact that the fabulous Laura Deloye (of Laura’s Love Posse) was heading up the Entertainment Committee this year… or maybe it does, but either way the race entertainment was BRILLIANT!

A church choir, a folk band, a saxophone quartet, Mr. Wolf AND Woole Bull?!?  Can’t beat it 🙂  Certainly kept me energized when I nearly died alongside Lauren during the women’s 5k earlier in the morning…

WATER SUPPLY: 10!

With nearly 25,000 participants, in 90 degree heat, I’d say the folks organizing did an INCREDIBLE job of making sure there was enough water for everyone and anyone.  I drank 3 bottles myself, and was incredibly grateful for their ability to plan ahead 🙂

TRASH MANAGEMENT: 9

Considering how much water they were handing out, both in bottles and cups, they also did a great job of planning for where it all would go.  There was definitely some spillover in some places, but there were bags and cans EVERYWHERE, and they even had plenty of recycling- for plastic AND cardboard.  Hard enough to do in my own apartment, so much love for the large scale which they were able to recycle.

All in all the Race was incredible, especially considering my hatred of large crowds and heat.  The fact that I barely noticed these two, and actually kind of enjoyed the power of the crowd, says a lot about all pieces of this event coming together to make one incredible Saturday.

If you’ve never been before, DO IT!!!

Beautiful Music by Beautiful People

I’ve decided that I’d rather go broke than miss out on live music.  I can’t believe I almost hesitated earlier this week when it came to seeing The Swell Season live tonight, solely because of the $20 price tag.  Thank god I came to my senses and remembered how much I love both outdoor concerts and The Swell Season.

The framily headed out for an early arrival, planning a picnic before the show.  Only the framily does picnics like this…

GOURMET PICNIC: 9

If there’s one thing the Bobbasheely Framily does right it’s food.  Combine the brilliance of Laura, Paul, Jay and occassionally me, you’re bound to end up with a feast. Sadly we were missing Ben, Katie, Scott, and Snooky, but as you’ll see we managed to get by on the food front…

I provided the veggies and left with a TON.  Can’t say this is a bad thing though, as I now have five different kinds of veggies pre-washed, cut and baggied for the week ahead.  Score!

-1 for buying a Sheetz sub on the way, forgetting that Laura was coming and clearly would provide delicious tuna salad wraps, solving my ‘tons of snacks but no real meal’ concern.  Next time…

One of the things I love most about concerts is that they provide you the opportunity to get to just hang out with your favorite artists.  Anyone can listen to someone’s CD at home and enjoy the music.  But at a concert you get the stories and banter that goes with it.  This is only the case if the artists are actually enjoying the concert as much as you are, and Glen Hansard certainly was.

GLENN HANSARD’S STAGE PRESENCE: 10

He was HILARIOUS, and gave plenty of chatting time between each song.  This I loved.  Plus when playing he was full of emotion and clearly digging the music.  He ad-libbed as necessary, and got the crowd involved in almost every song… not good news when I’m in the audience, but nevertheless he was hopeful 🙂

HER AWKWARDNESS: 2

It was clear he dominated the stage and the show, and I have to admit I felt pretty bad for her apparent uncomfort when performing… I will say, however, while it’s receiving a low rating it has nothing to do with her talent.  That would be a whole seperate rating, and clearly way above a 10.

HIS HUMILITY: 10!

SO appealing.  What a great, down-to-earth guy.  Never for a minute did he come off as too cool for school, and was so good to the whole audience.

Early on he invited anyone and everyone to come down front and fill the huge gap that’s part of this particular theatre, meaning Laura and I enjoyed up-close seats the entire time 🙂  As soon as it filled up he commented ‘Now it feels like a gig!’.  Can totally picture this guy rocking out at the local pub…

In his own words:

“It is exhausting at times, but the idea of going on stage and singing a bunch of notes and a bunch of chords, the idea that people would pay to see that is kind of sad. I hate to say it, I have gone to concerts where bands are doing just that, and I feel cheated. I think if people are going to spend their hard-earned money on a Friday night to go see my band, the best thing for me to do is get my own ego out of there and do a good gig.”

VIDEO GUY: 3

Clearly I videod a couple pieces of the concert.  But what’s with the folks who feel it’s necessary to film the ENTIRE concert?  I wonder if they actually go back and watch the whole thing… can’t imagine why if the quality’s anything like what I took home.  This dude seriously didn’t put down his flip cam the entire concert…

Whatever floats your boat I suppose 🙂

LOVING LIFE GUY: 10

This guy on the other hand never once lifted a camera, but instead just loved every single piece of the concert.  Head bobbing, dancing, the most emphatic claps I’ve ever seen… he covered it all.

People like this make me love concerts just a little bit more than I would have otherwise… doesn’t get any better.

GLENN’S WHITE MAN DANCE: 10!!!

What more is there to be said about this?  Glenn dances like a white guy and I love it.

FALLING SLOWLY: 10

God I love this song.  I used to play it in my classroom all the time, and when it won the Oscar I could finally gloat to my students that my taste in music was verifiably good.  They didn’t buy it.

I still love the song more than any other love song.  Ever.

RANDOM DUDE ON STAGE: 10

Just to prove my point about what a great guy Glenn is, as he was playing a Bruce Springsteen song at the end, and getting the crowd to sing, some random dude from the audience jumped on stage and took over the mike.  Glenn loved it, graciously moved to the side and let him have his moment.  He rocked out on the chorus, and then started giving hilarious shout-outs to ‘his’ band.  Super entertaining, and the crowd loved him!

MY DECISION TO STAY IN NORTH CAROLINA: 10!!!

While facing a pretty tough decision a couple months back when tempted by an incredible job in New York City, tonight was a brilliant reminder why I belong in North Carolina.

Looking forward to a summer full of tens 🙂

Birthday Celebrating!

I love birthday weeks (a lot) and I must admit that I woke up a little sad this morning when I realized I’d ahve to wait 368 more days till my next one 😦

That being said, this year’s involved some pretty good times.

Starting with a road trip up to Philly…

And a stop at FRIENDLY’S!!!

PARTYING IT UP AT JENNY B’S WEDDING: 9.5

Weddings are great for many things.  Obviously celebrating someone else’s happiness is great, but reconnecting with old friends is also incredible!  Had the chance to do that with several of my favorites from college, and enjoyed every minute of it.

-.5 because it’s sad to realize how great people are, and then leave the next day to never see them again.  Or atleast not for a long time.

GETTING TO KEEP THE CENTERPIECE: 10!

Another advantage of having my birthday so close to a wedding is that usually they give away the centerpiece to whoever has the closest birthday.  Lucky for me the centerpieces were BEAUTIFUL!  I was pretty excited when Scott relayed the news…

CELEBRATING WITH THE FAMILY: 9

If only I weren’t so tired from the wedding celebrating that happened the night before…


DINNER AT MAGGIANO’S: 8

On my actual birthday the framily went out to one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate not only my birthday, but also Jay’s!!!  Ever since college I’ve been a Maggiano’s addict, and love them even more now that they have whole grain pasta.  Classic Italian style, it was a great combination of incredible food and fabulous company.

-1 because of how exhausted I was after eating all that filling food.

-1 all that food also meant I didn’t save any room for profiteroles- my favorite dessert EVER!

I wish you could hear the beautiful music Jay and I were playing behind the piano…

JAY WEARING PAUL’S GLASSES: 10!

Who knows how we got started trying on each other’s glasses, but as soon as I put on Paul’s I was shocked by my sudden lack of vision.  Never in my life have I met someone with such horrible vision.  I had no idea until I put on the glasses that blinded me.  No matter how painful it was for me, it was totally worth it for the face we got out of Jay when he put them on.  LOVE IT!

All in all another fabulous birthday 🙂