Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hopeland Gardens and the Curiosity Shop

This afternoon we drove to Aiken, about 30 minutes from here. First Lisa bought some English food essentials, such as custard and ginger biscuits at the Curiosity Shop. Then we went for a walk around Hopeland Gardens. We intended to visit the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame on our return, but by then it was closed. I suppose that gives us an excuse for another visit in the spring.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Georgia Home

We are finally getting settled. Our website now includes pictures of our new home.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Baby Alexander

Celesta and John sent us some nice pictures of their new baby, Alexander. I especially liked this family shot, shortly after the birth. Congratulations to the whole family. Good People!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Lunch at the Pinnacle Club

Today I had lunch with the Willow Lake ladies at the Pinnacle Club, a private dining club in Augusta. There were magnificent views of the Savannah river and Augusta from the 17th floor.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Georgia Master Gardeners

One of our neighbors is a Master Gardener so I went to a lecture on Orchids and lunch with her today. It was held at the Savannah Rapids Pavillion in a room with incredible views. I am considering becoming a Georgia Master Gardener.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Patriots Park

Today we walked in Patriots Park, which seems like a good facility with gym and lots of outdoor sports including Frisbee Golf. Unfortunately no adult volleyball.

First visitor

We had our first visitor in the new house - Sparky - Cleo's best friend from Blakley Court. Sparky stayed with us for Thanksgiving and all three dogs had a great time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New driver's licenses

Another milestone in our move, we got our new driver's licenses. Not too painful, although interestingly, we had to provide evidence of our citizenship. We celebrated with lunch at a Mexican restaurant; pretty good, but no Abuelos!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Savannah Rapids

We took the dogs for a walk down by the Savannah canal today, starting at the Savannah Rapids. You can walk all the way along the towpath from Evans to Locks Rd (near where we live) to downtown Augusta. We only made it as far as the old quarry - but we had a good walk.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

New Job

I started my new job at Janus Research Goup. It's a small, privately-held company, located in Evans, GA, near Augusta. I'll be working on software for a new project for them. An old friend from Apple has been working for Janus for a couple of years and he looked me up a few months ago to see if I'd be interested in a job. As it turns out, the company is located near Mount Vintage where we bought a lot back in March. We already had decided that we liked the general area, and the job sounded good so we decided to make the move. I'll have to give up my dream of becoming a pro golfer, but life is full of trade-offs. The Senior Tour will be waiting for me someday.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Moving day

We moved house today. Of course it was pouring with rain most of the time that they were loading the truck in Calabash. It took so long that they have decided to stay in a hotel tonight and will be delivering tomorrow. That is good for us and the dogs. We are all exhausted, even though the dogs slept all the way down here. I guess it helped that it was dark the whole way. We will be happy to sleep on our air bed tonight and deal with the unpacking chaos tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New house

The offer that we made on 4219 Blue Heron Lane, Evans, GA, has been accepted. We should be closing on October 27 and moving on November 7.

Cleo graduates

Cleo graduated from pre-school today. She won a first place in the "longest stay" and second in "musical sits" and in "fastest come". It would have been an easy victory in the sit competition except that she did not like the music - Pomp and Circumstance played on a computer speaker with no bass and very squeaky. It freaked her out, which meant a lot of jumping all over me, and trying to climb into my arms. Still, she has some pretty ribbons to wear, plus she got a new halloween squeaky toy and some special cookies made with liver.

On to kindergarten in Georgia.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

John Visits

John and Lisa at Brookgreen
My brother John came to visit us during the first week of September. It was great to have him here. John hadn't played golf for a while, but he managed to put together four pars in a row. That's pretty impressive considering that he never hit any woods. We also took a fun ocean cruise on the Sea Screamer and saw a huge pod of dolphins just off the coast near Sunset Beach. We spent a pleasant day at Brookgreen Gardens and had a burger at the famous River City Cafe. Heidi and Cleo also had a great time with Uncle John.


Friday, September 1, 2006


Tropical Storm Ernesto made landfall not too far from us last night. We were fortunate that it went a bit to the northeast instead of directly over us. Our rain gauge had a total of seven inches. The news reported that Wilmington (about 50 miles north of Calabash) had over ten inches. Winds were gusting near 70 mph last night, but we had only a few fallen trees on the golf course that we could see this morning. Some of the fairways are partially flooded, and the sand traps are a mess, but that's to be expected. If we don't get anymore rain, I expect that the golf course will be open for play tomorrow. Our neighbor tells us that some of the roads around the Plantation are flooded with a couple of inches of water. That should recede by this afternoon. It was an unpleasant night for the dogs, but we're all doing fine this morning.

My brother is coming to visit us in a couple of days so I hope we'll have better weather for him.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bertie in Low Places

A couple of years ago, we made a movie featuring Bertie that we've shared with our family and a few friends. Well, somehow it's managed to find its way onto the internet. It's a large download, but good quality QuickTime movie. If you have a broadband connection you can download download Bertie in Low Places (20 MB) directly to your computer. Or watch it in your web browser here: Bertie in Low Places on It's been a couple of months since Bertie passed away, and we miss him dearly, but it's fun to watch his movie and remember what a great companion he was. Thanks to our mysterious friend who posted the video, the rest of the world will get a chance to enjoy him, too.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Pictures of Cleo

We've added some pictures of Cleo: Cleo's Baby Pictures and Cleo July 2006.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Miss Cleopatra Twinkletoes

Cleo's official name is "Miss Cleopatra Twinkletoes" - Miss because she's a true southern girl, Cleopatra because of her color and regal stature, and Twinkletoes because she has two white toes on each of her back feet. Lisa's Dad used to call her "Twinkletoes" and Steve always thought that was funny.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Ron from Great America

Ron and family
Back in my not-so-wild teenage years, I worked at Marriott's Great America in Santa Clara as an attendant in the Engine Company Skeeball arcade. You might think that making change all day would be boring, but we had a good time, mostly because we had a fun group of people. I especially remember Ron for his great sense of humor, featuring Get Smart quotes and semi-factual historical references. We went our separate ways during college, but a while ago he tracked me down using the internet (that's a warning to you bloggers with shady pasts). It was nice to hear from him after all these years. He's back in California again, and we'll probably get together next time I visit my family in San Jose. Ron sent me this picture to share with the world.

Major Update for Miner Updates

We've move all our old pictures from dot-Mac to our new domain, In the process, we updated a lot of links so it's possible that something is broken. When in doubt, start at the new Miner Updates galactic headquarters or click on the link for Pictures and more in the header of this page. Our Miner Updates blog will continue here. By the way, you can send us email at my new address: steveminer @

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Cleo stats

Cleo and Heidi

Affectionately known as our "little monster", Cleo weighed in today at 26 lbs.  She's 16 3/4 inches tall at the shoulder. Yesterday, she was 11 weeks old. She's shown here with her big sister Heidi (8 years old).

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bob the Poodle

Our friends back in California just got a new puppy, too. Bob is a white standard poodle. He's just a day younger than Cleo. Carolyn sent us this wonderful family photo of Bob surrounded by Bridget, Mary and Todd.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Miss Cleopatra

On Sunday, June 18th, our family gained a new member. Her name is Miss Cleopatra, Cleo for short. She is a Great Dane, 9 weeks old, 19 pounds, all black except for a white patch on her chest, four white toes and white patches on the backs of her ankles. She is utterly adorable as you can see.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Thumbs down on "Fields of Freedom"

While in Gettysburg, we went to see the new movie, Fields of Freedom. For $8, I expected something more. It's basically a 30-minute dramatization of the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, focusing on a couple of soldiers from either side. It's the kind of thing that PBS might do. It would make a fine addition to the National Park Visitors Center as a freebie, but it's not worth paying for. Go to the Gettysburg Cyclorama Center to see a couple of free movies instead. They're old but they still work. (History is kind of convenient that way.) Just for your information, the Cyclorama itself (a 360 degree painting) is closed for restoration and the building is scheduled to be demolished to make way for a new visitors center. Maybe you're better off waiting a year or two before you visit Gettysburg.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Williamsburg to Gettysburg

On Sunday, June 4th, we left Calabash for Williamsburg - the start of a 5 day touring vacation. First we drove to Yorktown and visited the National Park and town. The most interesting part was probably walking around Redoubts 9 and 10, although the movie at the visitor center gave a good summary of events to give us perspective. Next we walked around Colonial Williamsburg down the main street and through Merchants Square.

On Monday morning we drove to Washington D.C and spent a couple of hours wandering around the National Arboretum. It is an amazing place and we could have spent a lot more time there. Definitely a place to return to. Next it was on to Annapolis. We visited the State House, the US Naval Academy and took a boat ride around the harbor on Watermark cruises. The State House was also, for a brief period, the home of the Continental Congress (Nov. 1783 to Aug. 1784) and is now the oldest State House still in active use. The Naval Academy Chapel is very picturesque, particularly the dome. We enjoyed a good meal on the outdoor terrace at Phillips Seafood at City Dock. Lisa went for the true Maryland meal and had Cream of Crab soup followed by Crab Cakes.

Unfortunately, the next morning, Lisa had a bad case of food poisoning. We postponed our departure for Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania for a couple of hours until she finally felt she could manage the drive. It turned out she was a little optimistic! After a brief relapse during the journey, she did feel quite a lot better and so we drove on to Longwood. We spent the afternoon wandering, slowly, around the gardens and waterfalls and conservatory. They are wonderful. After a short rest and a dinner of bread and saltines (for Lisa) we returned to Longwood for an evening outdoor concert featuring Time for Three, a young trio of musicians playing violins and double bass - very entertaining. We rounded off an extremely long day with the illuminated fountain display at Longwood - well worth the wait (but we were glad to have brought our lawn chairs with us).

We decided to change our route on Wednesday. Lisa was still not feeling great and we were supposed to drive to New Jersey to visit a friend and then back to Philadelphia, where the highlight of our stay was to be dinner at Susanna Foo. Instead, we spent the morning at Kennett Square (near Longwood) and then drove on to Hershey to see Chocolate World. We ended up in Gettysburg where we stayed for the next couple of nights and relaxed the pace a little. It was disappointing not to see Len, and missing our great meal, but we will go to Philadelphia some other time.

In Gettysburg we toured the battlefield and visited the National Cemetery and Cyclorama. We had a good lunch at The Pub, sitting outside right on Lincoln Square (which is actually a roundabout). Lisa was getting more adventurous and had a grilled cheese sandwich. We (mostly Steve) also ate at the Dobbins House (so-so tourist trap) and the Gingerbread Man (better).

We returned home on Friday to find that Calabash had been experiencing violent thunderstorms all week. The weather gods had looked kindly upon us on our trip and kept us dry and comfortable.


Sunday, May 28, 2006


While taking Heidi for a walk, we saw an alligator in the pond near our house this morning. Our neighbor, Diana, snapped this picture. For the locals, this is near the green of Azalea 4.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bertram Wooster of Wodehouse: 1994 - 2006

Today we made the difficult decision to have Bertie put to sleep. He has been ill for a few days and there no longer seemed to be any chance that he could recover. There has been a recurrence of his mast cell disease and he was unable to eat.

He died peacefully in our arms at 5 o'clock this afternoon. We have spent twelve wonderful years with him. He will never be forgotten and will always be missed.

Rest in Peace, Bertie, we will love you forever.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Memorial Bench at Brookgreen Gardens

We purchased a memorial bench for Lisa's mother and Joy Bisby, their good friend. It is at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. Photos.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Florida Vacation

On Tuesday, April 4th., we drove to Daytona Beach on the first leg of our Florida vacation. Whilst there we visited the Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens and decided that we have to build our own human sundial. We then drove on to Palm Beach which was our final destination. The weather was pretty good so we did some sunbathing and swimming every afternoon. Steve swam in the ocean but at 78 degrees F it was a little too cool for Lisa. We enjoyed a visit to the Lion Country Safari and also went for a cruise down the intracoastal on the Palm Beach water taxi.

At ER Bradley's Saloon we thought we had found a really good Happy Hour - with the purchase of two drinks you got a free buffet. Great until we got the bill for the most expensive beers we have ever had. Still, it was a great place to sit and watch the world go by and they did have a pretty garden too. For dessert we had really, really, good ice cream at Sloan's on Clematis Street. We also tried out the Trolley bus service.

We enjoyed a morning exploring Worth Avenue with all its interesting shops, alleys and courtyards. Lisa found some Sheffield Silver and got some good ideas for landscaping containers. Lunch was a complete change of pace - a brew pub aptly named "Brewzzi".

Of course no trip would be complete without Chinese food and this time we found a nice place called Singing Bamboo - a bit of a drive but well worth it. Our favorite part of West Palm Beach was City Place however. We had a great dinner at Il Bellagio and did a little shopping. We found another fantastic ice cream place at City Place - kind of a whipped up foamy gelato with really intense flavours.

On our last day, we went to the West Palm Beach Green Market (farmer's market) which was a big affair. In addition to the usual stuff, there were a lot of plants and flowers. Lisa bought a Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) which we then had to nurse all the way home in our cooler. It is now happily transplanted and lives in our screen porch. We are not quite sure where it will go for the winter!


Friday, March 31, 2006

Mount Vintage Lot

We have purchased a lot at Mount Vintage, near Augusta but on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River. The lot is on the 19th green of the new nine holes that are proposed - not much to see right now but it should be beautiful. Photos.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Flying to Gatwick

US Airways took us to London's Gatwick airport, leaving Charlotte at 7:30pm and arriving in London the next morning. Fortunately, we had a couple of empty seats next to us, and we were able to stretch out a bit and get some sleep. We arrived tired but functional, and made our way to rental car area. As we drove off, it started to snow. Lisa did the driving since she has the most experience on the wrong side of the road, and she doesn't think I can handle a roundabout. (In parts of America, they're known as traffic circles or rotaries, but I'll confess that I had never seen one in California. Also, check out the Swindon "Magic Roundabout".)


We've been living in North Carolina for nearly five years, but we've never been to Charlotte except to change airplanes. We got a good deal on a direct flight to London from Charlotte so we decided to drive 250 miles to get to the airport. The trip actually went pretty smoothly with no traffic problems and minimal navigation issues. We didn't have much time to explore but it seems like a nice place if you like big cities. It's funny how you miss some aspects of a real city when you live in the boonies, which we, of course, chose in order to escape from the urban jungle. The center of the Charlotte is the intersection of Trade and Tryon, in what's known as Uptown. I'd probably call it downtown since that's where all the skyscrapers are, but what do I know? So we walked around for a while, and admired the large buildings and all the shops and restaurants. We agreed that it would be interesting to spend more time in Charlotte so we'll definitely come back to visit.

No Jacket Required

We had our bags packed for the trip to England and were loading up the car. I put the suitcases in the back of SUV. Just before departing, it seems that Lisa and I had a slight communication problem. I thought she said she had put the jackets in the car, but she meant only that she had brought light jackets that we might use while wandering around Charlotte, not the heavy jackets that would protect us from the near-freezing temperatures that were forcast for London during our trip. So off we drove to Charlotte, blissfully unaware that our "real" jackets were hanging on the hand-rail of the staircase, four feet from the door to the garage. It took nearly four hours to drive to the Charlotte airport where we discovered our mistake. I thought about buying a new jacket for Lisa, but as it worked out we managed to add a few layers and survive the British winter. Now, we can laugh about it, but at the time I was worried that one of us might not make it home alive.


Lisa's father's dog is named Mickey. He's a "Heinz 57" as they say (probably a mix of Jack Russell and Corgi). Mickey accompanied us to Stratford-upon-Avon, and is seen here playing with his ball outside our hotel. Photos hosted by Bubble Share.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bertie is 12

Today is Bertie's twelfth birthday. He's doing great. Happy Birthday, old boy!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Bertie after surgery

Bertie after surgery
Originally uploaded by miner.
A while ago, we noticed a lump in the loose skin under Bertie's chest. The vet diagnosed it as mast cell tumor, a form of cancer that's common in dogs but rare in humans. On Wednesday, he had surgery to have the mass removed. He had a tough first night home, but he's doing much better now. If you want to see a close up of the staples holding the incision together, click here. The staples are scheduled to come out in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, he's taking a truck load of pills. We're optimistic that he'll make a full recovery.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006


Originally uploaded by miner.
Our neighbors got a Jack Russell Terrier puppy for Christmas. His name is Sparky. He's a quick little guy, who enjoys "turbo-ing" around the yard while playing with our big dogs.