Monday, May 31, 2010

Bless This House

Such a busy week getting ready for Memorial Day weekend at the lake house. No time for blogging! We had the whole family gathered for the first time at our new home on Sweetwater Lake.

We blessed the house, and our good friend Pastor Jimmy reminded us of the importance of those lessons we learned in kindergarten. Sharing, napping, warm cookies. We pray that this house will be a place of love and laughter, and sharing the blessing of time spent together.

After supper, we moved to the dock to bless the boats, the lake, and the activities to take place there. With a special blessing for Jonathan. :)

Haleigh and Nana enjoyed the swing.

Adam enjoyed a backrub from his brother Andrew.

Jim smiled for the camera.

Jamalyn gave Margaret a little lesson on water safety on the dock. Pastor Jamalyn added the blessing at water's edge by thanking God for this place as we move into a new stage in our lives. As children grow and leave home, may this be a place where we come together to share our love for one another and make special memories.

Adam relaxing dockside.

Margaret enjoyed her first Dilly Bar. She asked me later if she could have another of those round circles with the chocolate on it. Of course she can. A girl after my own heart.

Andrew and Adam showin' some love in the paddle boat.

We enjoyed some great cookies. Blogger always seems to want to rotate my cookie pictures.

And had an awesome cake to congratulate David on his PhD.

We had another cake for Jonathan's graduation. Just slightly less awesome.

Jim, in a familiar pose, at the end of a great day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Holy Cathedral!

This morning I decided to attend worship at the Duke University Chapel. It's not really a chapel at all, it is a huge beautiful cathedral! With the help of Gina, my trusty GPS, I drove right to the front of the chapel, and since I was early, they allowed me to park there. Very special. It was a bit cloudy before the service, and it's really hard to do justice to the building in photographs, but of course I tried.

The inside is amazing. Looking toward the alter.

And back toward the organ pipes. It's a BIG organ. The music and the service were both lovely. We celebrated holy communion, and heard Dr. Sam Wells, Dean of Duke Chapel, deliver the sermon.
I thought this carving in the alter area looked like a fleur de lis.

This is looking out from the sanctuary into the courtyard.

Another view. looking into the courtyard as well.

There were blue skies by the time the service was over, and I took a few more shots.

Then I drove around the campus a bit, to see some of the sights.

This is another view of the chapel, from the back.

I had to find Cameron Indoor Arena. Didn't see any crazies on a Sunday morning though.

I finally found a bookstore so I could purchase a t-shirt, but it was closed. I really was going to buy one (Jamalyn), I promise. I had too settle for this picture through the window instead. Maybe next time.

After church, it was time to continue the house hunt. I think we could safely call this one the stinky house. Sounds better than the junky house. Which it was. The two pit bulls inside the door really added to the atmosphere. They were in cages, thankfully. On to the next one.

From the pictures, this one looked like white brick. It was actually concrete block. Inside and out. It sort of felt like a dormitory. You know, when you used that putty stuff to hang posters on the wall? That's how the walls were in the whole house. White concrete block. Everywhere. The landlord rode over on his golf cart to show it to us. He was a kindly old gentleman who thought the ideal tenants would enjoy gardening in the area behind the house. Probably not these tenants. Keep looking.

David and Shylah already had a good feeling about the next house because of the email correspondence they have had with the landlords. It is owned by a young couple in Michigan, and just seemed to be a good fit. The house was shown by the current tenants, who will be moving to Boston. They were very nice, and had only good things to say about the landlords. A definite possibility.

At this point, it was time to take a break and kill some time before the last appointment of the day. We drove into downtown Chapel Hill, and looked at some of the cute shops in the area. We decided to get a bite to eat at the Top of the Hill restaurant. An elevator takes you up from the street level to the third floor, where they have both indoor and outdoor dining.

This is the back of the menu, which shows a view of the restaurant during a campus celebration. Craziness! As you can see, it is the social crossroads of Chapel Hill.

We have actually had a rainy weekend here in NC, and David and Steve even cancelled their golf game this morning because of severe storms in the area. We have had rain off and on for two days now, and it alternates between bursts of rain, then sunshine, then rain again. We asked to be seated outside at Top of the Hill, and had only been there a few minutes when the rain came. Shylah and I were sitting by the railing, and were quickly doused. The waiters rushed to close the clear plastic curtains, and we continued our meal.

Shylah shakes the raindrops off of her plate.

I enjoyed the sweet potato cheese fries.

David and Shylah had Thumbs and Toes. Actually buffalo wings.

After our dinner, we headed out to see the last house of the day. It was cute, but older, with a few odd things about the floor plan. After seeing this last one today, they have decided...

to rent the one below, from the nice folks in Michigan. As long as they get the details worked out, this should be their new home for the next couple years! I guess I should say "Go Tarheels!"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

House Hunt

We had four houses on the schedule today in hopes of finding one for David and Shylah to rent. The first one was cute, clean, and had nice hardwood floors and a nice kitchen. A bit small, but a possibility. It did have a large no-longer-used propane tank in the back yard, which was a bit of a negative. On to the next one.

House number two was a no. A definite no. Pretty much a double wide with a heavy equipment depository in the back yard. The realtor was anxious to tell us about the main selling point in the community of "Byum" (I think that's what she called it). She said on Friday nights in their little artsy community, there is a mixer down at the general store with live music. Bluegrass, R & B, jazz, etc. Sweet.

House number three is a possibility. It is very spacious, with a nice wooded lot, and a well and septic system. The negative is that the wallpaper is rather dated, or "funky" as David described it. Could be changed with landlord approval.

House number four is also a possibility at this point. It is owned by a nice couple who will be moving to west NC for his residency. They have been unable to sell the house, and answered David's ad on Craig's list looking for housing. The two car garage is nice. It is in a crowded neighborhood where the houses are very close together. Nice for meeting friends, but not much privacy.

When it was time to break for lunch, we met up at Piola for some great pizza.

Ashlie shows us her pizza.

My choice.

Ashlie and Steve who provided our awesome accommodations for the weekend. Thanks guys!

After lunch, David, Shylah and I headed to the UNC campus to take a look around. They have a bell tower like Purdue, and it's right across from the chemistry lab where David will be working. To make him feel at home.

This is the name of the lab.

This is the top of the building with the exhaust stacks from the fume hoods in the labs.

We tried all the doors, but everything was locked up on Saturday afternoon. David will be meeting with his professor on Monday morning.

Another view of the bell tower.

We also made a trip to the bookstore. They still love MJ in North Carolina. :)

David wasn't surprised this rack was 50% off. Cute. We bought a couple of apparel items (not these shorts) while we were there. Sorry Jamalyn.

Celebration banners hanging around campus.

Of course we had to drive by the Dean Dome.

We even caught a glimpse of Jordan himself inside the window. Is he waving?

Another house or two tomorrow, and they hope to make a decision.