Saturday, December 11, 2004

Merry Christmas

We have now summarized the years events in pictures and added another album to get everyone in the Christmas spirit.

We will be celebrating at home with Bertie and Heidi and for New Year's Eve we will be attending the Gala at the Ocean Club.

Night of a Thousand Candles

Last night we went to Brookgreen Gardens for their Night of a Thousand Candles celebration. It was wonderful. The pathways through the gardens were all lit with luminaries and various artists were performing in different parts of the garden. We saw handbell ringers, singers, a grass quintet and a pianist. Last, but not least, we listened to a one-man rendition of "A Christmas Carol" which was amazing.


Monday, December 6, 2004

Fire Department Christmas Dinner

On Saturday, Steve and I attended the Calabash Fire Department's Annual Dinner. In March the Department opened a second station just outside Brunswick Plantation and Steve signed up to be a volunteer firefighter. He goes to training sessions on Monday nights (work permitting) and has been on a few fire calls. So far he has not been allowed into burning buildings, but he is learning to drive and work the pumps for the tanker truck. He also (with my help) created a web site for them which has been very successful. The editor of our local newspaper even called to ask about it. He was getting a lot of hits from our website because we link to articles he writes about the department. The award for "Rookie Firefighter of the Year" was given jointly to Steve and four other rookies from Brunswick Plantation.

To my surprise, I was also presented with an award. A few months ago the firechief asked me to produce maps of the fire district. Because we live in a rural area, many of the printed maps are incorrect. The area is also growing rapidly and the map companies are not keeping up to date. The chief gave me some software and I loaded up the maps for the district and corrected them. For the newer developments such as Brunswick Plantation, I had to draw the maps from scratch. I also indexed all the streets in the district so that the firefighters can look up the street when they first jump in the truck, and at least know which neighborhood to head for. Anyway, the maps have been a huge success and I received a firefighter's jacket with my name sewn on it.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. We enjoyed a nice meal at The Parson's Table, one of our favorite restaurants in nearby Little River, SC.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


For Steve's visit to California this month I was able to buy a cheap ticket flying from Raleigh. So we decided to spend the weekend in Raleigh first. We stayed downtown and visited the State House and Capitol Building. We searched out a good Chinese restaurant for dinner which was a real treat.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Aborted Vacation

We were supposed to be on a vacation to England and Prague now but another weather "issue" caused us to cancel the trip. We were sitting at the airport in Raleigh, waiting for our flight to JFK, when a big storm came through. The rain was torrential and we could tell it was very windy outside. Flights started to be delayed but nobody was too concerned. Then we realised that nothing had come in or out for at least 30 minutes. We started to ask what was going on and were told that we should go find a booking agent and try to get our flights rescheduled. On the way we bumped into a guy who was coming down from the control tower. He told us the airport was officially closed. The control tower had been evacuated and a tornado had hit the other terminal and turned over some small aircraft, leaving debris on the runway. It was the remnants of Hurricane Ivan. To cut a long story short, the airline could not get us into London in in the next 24 hours so we decided to cancel our trip altogether.

So we are back at home. We decided to spend some time at the Ocean Club, which has been very relaxing. We also went up to Wilmington for the night and stayed at a very good inn, the Graystone Inn. For dinner we went to one of our favourite restaurants, the Pilot House, right on the river in the downtown historic district.

Despite the cancellation of our trip, we have enjoyed the vacation time and look forward to visiting Europe again in the future.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Tropical Storm Gaston

Gaston seemed relatively strong but it didn't cause any damage for us, just a lot of wind and rain. Gaston made landfall in South Carolina and passed by us to the west (inland) as it headed north. Update: Gaston was officially designated as a hurricane after the wind data and observations were analyzed.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Hurricane Charley

After devasting Florida, Hurricane Charley briefly went out to sea and then passed directly over us. (See the track.) Sustained winds at our location were only 70 mph so technically, Charley had weakened below hurricane status, but that's still a strong storm. We battened down the hatches and fortunately suffered only minor damage and a few hours without power. One of neighbors had a huge tree crash through their roof. They were out of town at the time so no one was injured.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Tropical Storm Bonnie

We got some wind and rain from Bonnie, but nothing major.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

California Visit

I have just returned from a visit to California. I went with Steve who was on his regular business trip. We had a great time. The first priority was to see as many family and friends as we could and I think we did a good job this time. Better than last year anyway, when we overbooked ourselves and ended up running very late for some people. We also ate as much Chinese food as we could and had a good Indian meal with all our old friends from Price Waterhouse. I went to the Olsons cherry stand and bought some wonderful cherries. I had forgotten how good they are. It was good to see everyone and we look forward to another visit soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Grande Dunes Ocean Club

The issue of whether or not to buy a timeshare at Marriott Vacation Club has finally been put to rest. I have instead bought a membership at the Grande Dunes Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach. It is actually next to the Marriott properties and has a great pool right by the beach. With waitress cocktail service poolside and a great restaurant for lunch or dinner it was the perfect place for me. We will also be able to attend lots of social functions including New Year's Eve Gala, wine tasting, cooking classes etc. For the rest of the summer, if I'm not at home, I'll be at the Club.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

4th of July Party


We decided to have a traditional block party for the Fourth of July. Everything was set up on an empty lot on our street and we were ready to go when the heavens opened and it poured with rain. Never mind, an hour later the sun was out and drying everything again. The party went ahead without a hitch. Steve organised a water balloon tossing competition which was a big hit and Lisa made cup cakes to look like the flag.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Anniversary vacation

June 11 was our 10th Wedding Anniversary. We decided to celebrate by going to the new Marriott Resort that has opened in Myrtle Beach. Why fly all the way to the Caribbean when you have a great beach and good weather close to home? The hotel was good and Steve was able to relax for the first time since we went to Paris. On Sunday we took a tour of the Marriott Vacation Club timeshares which are being built next door to the hotel. They were really quite nice and I am tempted to buy one just so that we can use the beach and swimming pool privileges all summer. It is hard to justify the expense based on exchanging for a week somewhere else however, so I'm still thinking about it. We also had a fun meal at the Melting Pot fondue restaurant.

Monday, May 10, 2004

England and Paris

At the end of April, we flew to England and spent a couple of days with my father in Hooton Levitt (near Sheffield). I enjoyed visiting my mum's best friend Joy and her daughter Gill. Whilst I was catching up with them, Steve played golf with my father. It was only his second round since he started taking lessons in February. He had a good time despite the length of the English rough. He was particularly proud of getting a par on one hole.

We next went to London to visit my schoolfriend Anna and then took the train through the Channel Tunnel to Paris. It had been about 15 years since my last visit to Paris. Nothing had really changed except that everything seemed much cleaner and safer than before. It was Steve's first visit, so we visited all the sites including the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Versailles. I particularly enjoyed eating french bread and camembert and onion soup and omelettes. I can't wait to go back again.


Friday, April 30, 2004

The first Miners to visit

We were very excited this month to welcome the first Miner visitors to our new home. Steve's Aunt Carol and Uncle John stopped by whilst on vacation in the South. It was wonderful to see them. You can see a commemorative photograph.

Monday, April 5, 2004

The AVP in Ft. Lauderdale

We went to the AVP's first tournament of the year in Ft. Lauderdale to see our friends Albert "AL-B" Hannemann and Eric Fonoimoana (2000 Olympic Gold medalist) play pro beach volleyball. Our guys didn't quite make it to the finals, but we had a great time watching lots of volleyball action. Many famous players were there, including Kerri Walsh. By the way, I played high school football with her Kerri's uncle. We expect her to win gold in Athens. Of course, Ft. Lauderdale has more to offer than just volleyball so we had a good time riding on the water taxi and enjoying the many restaurants and bars.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Master Gardener

I recently started taking classes to become a Master Gardener in Brunswick County. My neighbour, Carol, is taking the classes with me. Once we have completed the course we will have to do 40 hours of volunteer work on the "hot-line" answering questions about gardening. Then we will be proper Master Gardener Volunteers.

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Job update

I starting teaching a class at Brunswick Community College in January. It is Landscape Design II and aims to teach horticulture students how to use CAD software for landscape design work. I will be teaching one four-hour class each week until the end of April.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Happy Birthday Bertie

January 20th was Bertie's Tenth Birthday. Since he had a party for his first birthday, we decided he should have another to mark this occasion. He invited all his people friends for drinks and hors d'oeuvres and, of course, birthday cake. By the way, Bertie's Home Page is still a popular item with Google (search for Bertram Wooster).