Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Digging Dreams

I NEVER dream. Well maybe I do and I just don't remember them. You know how women always say they dream when they're preggers. I figured I would just dream then, no need to dream now. Except I had one last night that I remember vividly. Thankfully it wasn't scary. Just weird.

I was raking leaves (??? why???) with Skinny somewhere at work. It wasn't our yard. Not even sure why we were doing it. But as we raked some leaves back, we immediately saw human teeth. It was a skeleton!!!

Skinny and I immediately started examining the teeth and bones. It was definitely a male. Definitely. Huge teeth, huge mandible. We were discussing everything like we already knew what we were talking about. We immediately notified our supervisors who were impressed with our knowledge and put us on the "job." Skinny and I set up our own archaeological dig and began working on preserving this body and trying to figure out who he was and why he was dead. It was a very high profile case. And then the dream ended.

I have no clue if we ever figured out "who dunnit" and all that good stuff. Who knows, we may have been promoted for our hard work and dedication to the case. Or we could have found a suspect and then lived our lives in fear of the suspect coming after us. I'm not sure. I tried to go back to sleep to find out what happened but it didn't work. It was like a mystery novel going on in my brain! Cool!

This is the main reason why I think I dreamed something kind of creepy. I watched Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Meyers last night. I have never seen any of the Halloweens. I was only 5 when #4 came out, my best friend down the street got to watch them, but my parents would never let me. So my childhood dream partially came true last night. Maybe I should have watched 1-3 first, but RNH filled me in on the details and said that each movie is mostly the same.

So pair a creepy move and my basic knowledge on archaeology, and voila! A dream! In 2005 I actually got to participate on an archaeological dig on a small island of 7,000 people in the West Indies of the Caribbean. I made that sound special, but really I just paid a lot of money and studied abroad, and archaeology was the reason for that trip.

We worked on an island called Carriacou, where most of the people there had never spoken to white people, and thought we were digging for gold. They hated us for a long time until we were able to reach out to them and educate them. We were trying to learn about their history!

The Caribs were the first people to inhabit the island, and it was those people that we were basically "digging up!" We uncovered several important artifacts and had 3 burials going while I was there. A male, female and child. It was pretty crazy because none of us college kids could work on a burial by ourselves. We had to have the burial specialist, from Sweden, there working with us and showing us what to do. I remember her handing me this brush with very fine bristles and telling me to rotate the brush in my fingers so that the brushes swirl around. She told me to work on the mouth area of this body. It was weird. Who brushes someone's teeth, years after their dead, with a fluffy brush? That's basically what Skinny and I were doing in my dream. The specialist was extremely knowledgeable in the Carib culture and explained to me that the people would bury their dead, sitting upright, in a fetal position. As they decomposed, the skull and its bones would eventually fall into the dead's lap, causing the bones to be mixed up. Had she not known that, it would have looked like the people chopped up the bodies and just threw them in a hole. Yuck! There were also tiny beads found in the grave site. She told me that the people would often be buried with the "finer" things that they owned as part of their culture and religion. Pretty cool!

And who would have thought it might add to my dream years down the road?!?! (And I don't have pictures of the skeletons we worked on, on my computer... dANGit!)
On an unrelated note: today is my 26th birthday. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I felt that being 25, I still might be able to pull off going to a college bar or wearing a slutty outfit (not that I do that anymore) BUT I still felt like I could pull it off. Now that I'm 26, I feel that I'm THAT much closer to 30. Holy depression.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wine Galore!

RNH and I got very excited to get to the "Got to be NC" part of the NC State Fair. There is a tent full of free samples of foods, all which are produced in North Carolina. An area nearby also displays the wines of North Carolina, and the results of a competition amongst the NC wineries.

I wasn't shocked to see the obvious large wineries win several of the awards, Biltmore, Duplin, Childress and Hinnant Vineyards.
But I was surprised to see that Cypress Hill Vineyards took a LOT of medals!!! This winery is close to RNH's home town so we are hoping to be able to visit soon. And from these awards, it looks like it will be worth the trip! I also inquired about the tastings and judgings that occur weeks before the NC State Fair. I wanted to participate! Not that I know how to judge or anything like that, I just wanted the free samples!!! I was told that there is nothing like that so far- it is a private judging and tasting, but I was also told that it is a very common interest for people, so who knows, maybe it will be offered in the upcoming years!

Here are a few other things produced in North Carolina:

Mt. Olive Pickles, Texas Pete Sauce, Pepsi, Autry Breadings, Nature's Own, Cheerwine, Krispy Kreme, Bojangles, Golden Corral and CookOut!

On a different note about wine, RNH and I got a wedding present from Mrs.K and her hubster. The coolest (literally!) wedding present ever:

How coooool is that?!?! A total surprise and totally AWESOME! We're wine nuts, and it is the perfect gift for us! Now RNH wants to make some sort of "wine furniture" to build and put it on. We'll see! I LOVE IT! Thanks Mrs.K!!!

North Carolina State Fair

As I'm sure you can tell, I love my state, and I love Fall. The month of October is super awesome because of a million things. But just a few are: the leaves changing colors, cooler weather, my birthday, and... THE STATE FAIR!!!

Mom and I have been going together for the past 6 years. Its been a tradition! We get together to celebrate our birthdays. We pretty much go over every inch of the fair, except for the ride part. We don't care for them because we'd rather not die. Yes, I said "die." Because people die on those things. Well usually its the carnies, but whatever. I'm not taking my chances!!!

This year we drug RNH along but made sure he had his own car so he could leave as he pleases.

There is an area of the fair that depicts an era of time that RNH wishes he lived in. Me too I guess! In this area you can sit and listen to awesome bluegrass bands,

you can check out the real workings of a blacksmith,

eat kettle corn (my favorite treat at the state fair!), visit a working tobacco barn, watch tobacco stringing contests, go through a gristmill and eat hushpuppies, watch a man make a rocking chair from wood, and all sorts of things from "Yesteryear."
I did all of those things above and more... Here are just a few:
I went looking for the bathroom, and found this: I got to pretend I was Goldilocks and sit in Papa Bear's chair,
admire someone else's tractor and wish it was mine,
see my favorite cows, and their babies, Belted Galloways, caught a goat sleeping on his job... I guess the State Fair wears him out as much as it does me!
I got to admire sheep, turkey, cattle, and pork that are going to look real lovely sitting on my dinner table some day. Really Harris Teeter? Really??? They always buy all the good meats. I guess thats why RNH likes them!
We sooo want your cousins you turkey!!! And we're gonna get them... we hope!
I also got to stand next to a ginormous roo!
I then proceeded to stuff my face with ice cream from North Carolina State University (only the BEST, GO PACK!),
and then stuff my pie-hole with deep fried pecan pie. Goodness gracious it was GOOD!
And then had the pleasure of watching some skinny bitch dance her life away on stage, making me immediately regret my past food decisions. JUST kidding! First of all, she's not a bitch- its Julianne Hough! She's awesome! Annnd its the State Fair, the only time you really get to gorge yourself on grossness and it be okay! Mom and I make sure we try something new deep fried every year! Her favorite so far has been deep fried pickles. Mine had been deep fried Reeses Cups. The worst: deep fried macaroni and cheese, maybe because it was still frozen in the middle... Can't wait for next year's treat- maybe deep fried pizza!

I .heart. the NC State Fair. It is THE way to celebrate your birthday!

My New Baby!

I've been wanting this thing for YEARS now. And I finally got it.
The Canon EOS Rebel XSi. WOOP WOOP! I have been saving for quite some time, and I finally had the money! I wasn't exactly planning for spending $904, however. I looked all around and found the camera at Best Buy for $50 off, making it $699.99. YES!!! I hesitated because I usually buy all of my cameras from Wolf Camera. I .heart. Wolf Camera. They helped me out one time when I was leaving the country and my camera broke. They just gave me a new one. Awesomeness! I love their warranties.
But then comes Best Buy's Geek Squad. For $149, I am covered for 4 years. Thats for ANYTHING, even if I drop it in the swamp. It doesn't cover theft of course. At Wolf Camera, I was going to end up paying $100 every year to keep a warranty with coverage like that. I was sold on Best Buy, breaking my loyalty.

So the final cost: $904. YIIKES! I've got money left in this month's checking, and I'll probably dip into next month's checking too, so I don't touch my savings. Oops. I was thinking I would walk in and out, refusing that warranty. Geek Squad got me!

Here are a few test shots with the new camera. I couldn't help myself. Everything is in the "Auto" mode, so these pictures are mostly showing off the clarity of the camera, and how "smart" the camera is. I'm doing some reading and Skinny is going to help me (she is the master-picture-taker herself!) learn about the camera and take better pictures with it. I can't wait. During the boring parts of hunting season I'll still be shooting! :) Enjoy!

Buck Shoals Vineyards- Hamptonville, NC

As I mentioned before, we made a pit stop at Buck Shoals Vineyards on the way to the mountains for the Extravaganza. We chose Buck Shoals because it is in the heart of wine-making country in North Carolina.

In 2003, the Yadkin Valley was tagged as an AVA, American Vitacultural Area- the first in North Carolina. The valley is located in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains and covers 1.4 million acres. Because of the mild climate and the clay-loam soils, this region is perfect for growing European grapes. The most popular grown in Yakin Valley include, Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. The Yadkin Valley has so many wineries, you can try winery trails, treks, etc., all while staying at the country's most finest Bed and Breakfasts. But as we learned the hard way, young married couples, wineries, and B&B's are not a good combination!

Buck Shoals is located along one of the Yadkin Valley wine trails. It is located 2 miles off Highway 421, so that is why we chose it as a pit-stop! In the area there are also 3 other wineries within a few miles. If it were up to me, we would have gone to all of them- but of course we weren't on a 3 hour drive to see wineries, we were on an extravaganza!!!

Buck Shoals is a small winery that started in 2003 with 5 planted acres. Today the acreage is now 13 acres with several different grape varieties planted. When I looked at their website I was thinking we were going to a very old farm with a very old tobacco barn as the tasting room. Not the case. The website boats a farm of tobacco, corn, grain, cows and chickens over several generations. I saw no signs. It also speaks of the Buck Shoals water mill built in 1880. If it was there, I hadn't a clue. Disappointment!

The wine hostess was a short wiry woman that had a pretty thick Northern accent. Ruh roh. I think we ended up tasting 13 wines, which was great, but I didn't get to take home a wine glass at the end because they were "running short." The entire tasting was about guessing where this woman was from. New Jersey. And she sure acted like it. I didn't find her sense of humor funny at all. She was rather abrasive and cold, however I did learn a lot from her, especially because I know nothing about the Yadkin Valley-type wines. We can talk Muscadines all day... well, maybe for about 30 minutes, because I've read up on them. The Yadkin Valley and all of their grape varieties just make my head spin!!!
Anyways, I immediately regretted not choosing another winery in the area when the Yankee wine hostess said, "Now make sure you visit the other wineries in the area. But they're all going to be Southern hicks. You won't understand a word they're saying and it won't be near as much fun." Dangit. We would have been at home!!! So after I was done having the wine tasting "yelled" at me, I was ready to go. Usually we like to order a glass of our favorite wine from the tasting and hang out on the vineyard's property. Take pictures of ourselves drinking in the vineyards like a lush, and just hang out. Not here. It was cold. Well, it was cold outside, and so were the attitudes. Plus we had an Extravaganza to get to, so we left!

RNH and I came home with two bottles, both whites of course. I really think I might give up on trying to find a red wine that I absolutely love. I haven't had any luck yet. I'd love recommendations!!! We came home with Shoals Creek White. It is a refreshingly light white wine. I could really taste the floral, pear, apple, citrus, and honey notes. Awesome.

A pretty neat thing about this winery is their making of mead. Mead is actually fermented honey. A mixture of honey, water and yeast, can create anything from a beer-type mead, to a sweet wine-type mead. The production of this tastiness dates back to 7000 BC, where archaeologists uncovered pottery vessels containing remnants of the concoction in Northern China! I think in the winery's case, their mead was mixed with grapes, making a Melomel, but I'm not sure, and honestly can't remember! I also think they were sold out, otherwise I'm sure we would have bought a bottle!

RNH also thinks he wants to start bee-keeping. But that is a different story for a different day. All thanks to the State Fair.

Buck Shoals was neat to stop at, only because it was our first vineyard in Yakin Valley. I'd like to try a different vineyard next time!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Skinny's Blog Award Questions

Skinny won a Blog award for her super-awesome blog. Then, as punishment, they made her answer some questions. Then, as even more punishment, she had to tag six people. But she didn't. Should they take her award away? J/k! But she tagged me as one of the people to answer the questions. Its been a long time since she tagged me, but maybe I should do it. And I'm not going to tag anyone, because I didn't win an award and I'm bitter. J/k! I just don't like tagging people. Actually, I kinda find these questionnaires and tagging, and all that "blog" stuff kinda stupid. I mean, just write what you write, and if people like it, they'll read it. If not, (like in my case), your mom might read your blog and make you feel important! :)

And I think I'm going to (try) to stick with Kinny's idea of the one-work answers!

1. Where is your cell phone? Kitchen
2. Your hair? Boring
3. Your mother? .Awesome.
4. Your father? Where?
5. Your favorite food? Cookie dough... dangit, there goes the one-word answers!
6. Your dream last night? Don't dream
7. Your favorite drink? Cherry Coke Zero
8. Your dream/goal? Happily Ever After
9. What room are you in? Extra
10. Your hobby? "Farming," photography, hunting
11. Your fear? The chickens getting eaten by the bobcat
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? On a ranch in Wyoming
13. Where were you last night? Here
14. Something that you aren't? Not weird (get the double negative there...? Meaning, I'm weird!)
15. Muffins? Yum!
16. Wish list item? A chocolate lab
17. Where did you grow up? Charlotte, the QC BABY!
18. Last thing you did? Upload pics of my new Canon Rebel XSi!!!
19. What are you wearing? Sweats and long-sleeve t-shirt with tons of holes in it!
20. Your TV? Small
21. Your pets? Chloe, Crikey, Roo & the girls!
22. Friends? Awesome!
23. Your life? Content
24. Your mood? Drunk
25. Missing someone? My mom!
26. Vehicle? Good ol' truck
27. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
28. Your favorite store? Southern States
29. Your favorite color? Teal
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today at Diamond's Direct
31. Last time you cried? Not sure, probably something nice RNH said
32. Your best friend? RNH, my sister, Skinny
33. One place that I go to over and over? Gas station? Walmart? Southern States? Work?
34. One person who emails me regularly? Mom,
35. Favorite place to eat? On The Border, or at the house when RNH is cooking!

There. Done it. These were kinda boring. At least I had boring responses. Maybe my life is boring? Maybe thats what these questionnaires are meant to tell you? Nah... I'm good! :)

THE Extravaganza!

I've been M.I.A for a week now! That's because after we came back from the Extravaganza, we hit the ground running with work, company, State Fair, etc etc. Now we're settled down a bit and I've got the entire week off! YES! (Except for working Halloween night.. CRAP!) But I will update you on the Extravaganza. The Extravaganza was exactly that! An Extravaganza!!!

We woke up early (early for our working schedules!) around 1pm, and headed off to the mountains. But the important thing was that Mrs. K showed up with the most awesome wedding gift ever. It will be mentioned at a later date. But she also showed up with the ever-exciting t-shirts!!! SO cool and eighties-ish! We all donned our t-shirts and away we went!

The ride up was cut in half by a quick stop at Buck Shoals Vineyard. Also mentioned at a later post. And if I don't get around to the post sooner than later, just take my word for it here, and don't go. It wasn't that great.
We arrived in Boone, North Carolina, along with all the other tourists of our great country and their mother's mother. Yup, we were all there. We headed to the beloved KOA Kampground first to check in. I was in heaven. The KOA is nestled into the mountain side, up a country road, and surrounded by cows. Lovely. The people who work there welcomed us with friendly smiles and were the most helpful! We checked into our kabins, exactly like the kabins we stayed in at the KOA in Shallotte, and we felt right at home! Then it was time to scrounge for food! Boone isn't a huge town, and we opted for Ruby Tuesdays. The croutons there- to die for. That night we hung around a tiny campfire and drank some beers. We checked in around 1am, excited for what the next day would bring!
The morning's weather was pretty much what we expected- cloudy and drizzling. Yuck. We ventured out anyways because we're troopers! We headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway after a warm meal of oatmeal and hot drinks. I heart the BRP. If I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for those BP license plates, I might consider it. Either that or the coastal one. Can't decide. Luckily, I'll never have to.

Anyways- we took off to mile marker 208.4, my favorite spot on the Parkway- Rough Ridge Overlook, elevation: 4,293.

Off we went up the mountain side! The bridge at the beginning of the trail shows you that you're not going to regret the steep trek. I think it was 2006, I actually took my sister's engagement pictures on this same trail. They turned out awesome (although I don't want to brag!) , I wish I had them on the computer so I could post one on here.
Its the most beautiful time in the mountains where all the leaves are changing colors. Peak season. Actually the higher level elevations have already shed their leaves.

The top is cold, a tad bit windy, but so worth it!

After our hike, we warm up with some delicious Japanese and head back to the KOA so people could nap if they wanted to. RNH and I decided to go check out the KOA's chickens. Yes, the KOA has chickens. I am beyond excited. When I see the chickens, I quickly realize that they have Rhode Island Reds!!! These are the grown-ups of the chickens I have!!! YESSSSS! I took a bunch of pictures that didn't come out and almost ignored the baby goats they had. It was awesome.

We also played a game of checkers in the KOA camp store (I won!) and watched a little bit of the Appalachian State University's football game that was on TV in the KOA game room. Then we took a hike up through the hillside. We came across a bald that had a creepy grave yard and tons of cow patties.
After the fun adventure we showered and met Mrs.K and her hubby outside the cabins for dinner. We were headed to THE Dan'l Boone Inn. O.M.G. We waited in line for an hour (yes, you can tell it was peak tourist season!). I personally think it was worth the wait. Others (ahem, RNH) didn't think it was that great and didn't see what the hype was all about. We were seated in a lovely Chicken-themed room and our server a nice girl named Olga, from Belarus. Dinner was delish!
Then we head back to the KOA to have a little fun. Out comes the vodka, 100 proof Captain Morgans' (YES they make such a thing!), a ton of firewood, and... of course the camera!

Needless to say, that night made the extravaganza, an EXTRAVAGANZA! And the 3 hour ride home the next day, we spent pulling over every-so-often to yaak on the side of the road. I wasn't puking but almost wishing I was... just to feel better somehow!

Anyways, the trip was fun and I can't wait for L.A.K.E. 2010!!!