Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It's that time of year and I've spent the last week reflecting on 2008. I know it's been a hard one, a sad one, a long one, a stressful one....but there were plenty of highs to make this year one of my favorite years. Here are a few of my highlights:


my first triathlon
a personal record for a half marathon

pheel the phelps:

i met john bell

yes we can:

a pr for the myrtle beach 5K and the half marathon of shopping:

i lost ten pounds

first ski trip to colorado

I hope you have your own highlights and remember these over the low-lights. May the new year bring you many blessings.



Friday, December 5, 2008


Today was Sugar's first visit to Masonboro Island and first boat trip! She had a wonderful time despite the gray weather and wind. She fetched, she played tug of war with a lost anchor rope, sniffed out a washed up snorkel mask and dug up a conch shell for me. We also watched 40-50 porpoises slowly surface and sink again a few yards off the shore.

Here she is, pooped out after dinner:

Here's a different type of wave:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 2008

I haven't written in a while, but I have some pix I thought I'd share from November. The pup has been keeping me busy of course, but I have managed to fit it some fun and fitness throughout the month.


This past weekend, I finally coerced Neal into walking the hallowed grounds of Chapel Hill. Actually, back in January, he requested away tickets to the Wolfpack v. Tarheel matchup. We hit the Hill with Tony Stroud and Chris Manning and despite the loss we had a great time. I felt a little teary entering the stadium. After all, I hadn't been back to Kenan since graduation day. I felt a little teary leaving, too. After all, I hadn't had a butt-kicking that bad in a long while.

My highlights (aside from the masked Chick-fil-A man in section 103 - see below): Cook Out Chocolate Malt Milk Shake. Divine.

Above: Beautiful Day at Kenan Stadium. The forecast was for a high of 41 degrees. Below: I thought the Carolina Blue skies were a good omen.

Above: Home Sweet Home
Below: Proof that Neal was Present

Above: The Scoreboard reads 31-10 Wolfpack. Ouch.
Below: Despite Being in the Vistor's Section, We had a Great Vantage Point

Below: ChickFilA Man. I guess he got chilly and decided to conserve heat in the form of his lunch bag. He had to keep rearranging his eye holes. After a drop in Farinheit (or a few more nips of bourbon) he added the blue hair in the second photo for effect.

Below: Neal proudly posing in front of the sign in front of the dorms named after his ancestor: Bryan Grimes.

Above & Below: Post-Game we had a Smithfield's snack and Tony & Chris
tossed the football in our private tailgate party off of Rosemary Street.

Below: Neal's Victory Smile

Here are some pix of Sugar that you may or may not have seen. For other pix, you can visit my Picasa site.

On November 9, 2008, I attempted my second-ever half marathon. I was fairly prepared for it. I still felt in shape from the triathlon and had increased my long runs since September. Still, I was VERY nervous. It turned out to be a great run.

Amy, Colin and I arrived at the Battleship around 6:45am. We stayed warm in the car before the race and I tried to keep my nerves under control. The day was beautiful. I think it was in the upper 40s when we started and warmed up to the mid 50s. The course took us over the Isabel Holmes bridge, through downtown Wilmington, around Greenfield lake and over the Memorial bridge. The best thing we did was park Amy's car at a spot on the lake - and so we had a 5-minute tailgate party/pit stop. We loaded up with water, sport beans and ACTIVEON (apply directly to where it hurts!)
The second best thing: Anna & Dad! They were on Third Street, andLake Shore Drive in the Park. Plus, Dad caught us near Fourth and Greenfield and both found us at the Finish Line. I was really excited that I ran most of the way. I needed a few walk breaks, and my last mile was SLOOOOOW, but I was pretty steady. Plus, I finished about 20 minutes faster than my San Diego time.
Myrtle Beach: HERE I COME!

Below: Here's Colin at Mile 2. He's Smiling. Always a Good Sign.
See how he's running waaaaay ahead of the pack?

Here comes the pack. And here we are - surprised to see Dad & Anna!

Below: Colin at the Lake.

Below:Here we are at the park. Probably a good 20-30 minutes after Colin passed!
We look good but our knees hurt.

Below: Our traditional medal and beer toast.
Amy's Finish Time: 2:21:20
My Finish Time: 2:19:26
Next year, we have to finish faster - this year they ran out of beer shortly after our finish.

Thanks to Anna who was part of our team!
Colin Won! His finish time: 1:17. He finished FIRST in his age group!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dancing with the Stars

I don't normally even watch DwtS, but I do like the finale. Evidently, so does Sugar. We were playing fetch until she crawled into my lap and began to intently watch the show.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Introducing.......Carolina's Masonboro Sugaree

Sunday was the big day! I retrieved our new addition - Sugar - from Carolina Kennels in Gastonia! After spending a few days in Raleigh with Parker, I drove from Raleigh to the Pennells and picked up Sugar for a lengthy ride home to Wilmington. She rode in the crate for a while, rode in my lap for a mile and then found her spot on the passenger side. The trick - crank up the bun warmer!

Her first night was touch and go. She did not appreciate being in the crate - at all. It was her first time in a new place without her brothers and sisters! We wondered if she was part howler monkey - she yelped and howled for about 10 minutes at a time. For the first few hours. She was up around 1pm and I took her out. She yelped and howled again - but fell asleep until just before six! Yay!
On Monday morning, she ate a great breakfast and met Mary Jo and played until she pooped out on Neal's shoe:

We played outside lots, came nose to nose with Shelby and met Susan, Joyce, Dad, Amy, Megan and Shelz! Cain't wait for you to meet her, too!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Grove Park Inn 2008

Greetings from Asheville, NC. Actually, greetings from Wilmington. We did make it home from our trip to the Grove Park Inn this afternoon and I thought I'd share some pix. We arrived at the GPI on Monday afternoon and spent a luxurious three nights and four days at the hotel, greens and spa.

We had dinner at the Sunset Terrace (the covered porch above) after we settled into our room. Neal had filet and I had the triggerfish. Then we donned our fancy spa robes and hit the mineral pools at the Spa.

The next morning we woke to fog:

By the end of breakfast, the fog began to clear:

And by the time we hit the links, the sun was in full shine:

On Tuesday morning, we played 18 holes at the Donald Ross-designed GPI Country Club. I did not do very well (I haven't practiced in months). But Neal did well. He parred a few holes and didn't lose a single ball. I lost four balls - but only one in the water. I also found a knack for hitting the cart paths.

I think this is the view from No. 3:

Here we are waiting for the group ahead of us:

We were entertained by their slow play all morning.

Here I am (below) posing on the rock at No. 17.
This rock has no significance other than it avoided my tee shot.

Here is Neal at No. 11.

The view from No. 18 will throw off anyone's tee shot.

Here is Neal posing with Donald Ross:

After golf, I jetted off to the Spa for a pedicure. I must say it was the BEST pedicure I've ever had. I was greeted with a glass of champagne and a box of chocolates. The pedicure included the conventional polish and massage, but I was also blessed by a mini hot stone massage and an incredibly comfortable recliner with soothing music in the dark. I felt like I was floating (and it wasn't the champagne). I never wanted to run again and instantly decided that after my next triathlon I might need to recuperate at the Inn.

On Tuesday night, we had dinner with Chris and Raleigh Battista in downtown Asheville. Here they are near (Raleigh did NOT want to go in) one of the GIANT fireplaces in the Grove Park Inn's Great Hall.

We went to Barley's Tap Room and we were treated to beefalo pizza slices and bluegrass. Plus, Raleigh is one of the most talented artists I've ever known. He drew an elaborate concert scene - complete with production lights, band, groupies and lyrics. He also drew a skateboarder playing basketball.

On Wednesday, Neal and I spent most of the day at the Spa. We had a continental breakfast at the Club Level lounge and I headed off to a massage. I chose to have hot stones, deep tissue and reflexology. It was AMAZING.

Neal and I had lunch and hung out at the mineral pools for the rest of the day. Above, I am a tthe outdoor 103-degree hot tub. He had a massage at 1pm and I lunched by the pool (a salad and GPI Chardonnay) and read parts of his book MISSING LINKS by Rick Reilly.

That evening we had dinner at the Club Level lounge. They served drinks and heavy appetizers from 5pm - 7:30pm and we took advantage of the buffalo wings! We went down to the Great Hall and scoped out the view of the sunset from one of the porches.

Here is Neal being silly.
We lit a fancy cigar from our last trip to the Turks & Caicos and watched the sun set.

Here we are trying to take pictures of ourselves in the dark. They said that the Grove Park is haunted and it seems that some of they ghost fairies were playing games with our pictures.

Here is one of the waterfalls at the Spa.

On Thursday morning, we decided to hit the Spa one last time before our departure. Here is Neal at the mineral waterfall massage pool.

Here I am by the outdoor fireplace:

Our view from the Spa. We had the place completely to ourselves for the first hour.

Our Farewell Picture from the Spaaahhhhhh.

Here's a video from our day on the course: