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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Summer First!

I know, I know, I have been a little scarce. I was really busy at the beginning of the week a couple weeks back getting ready for last week. Last week was our (late) spring vacation! Last year and this year David’s vacation time was later than it had been when we went to Florida in 2010. Of course we melted last year in record end of May/beginning of July heat in Iowa and especially in St. Louis, so this year, with vacation time in June…we went farther south!

It sounds quite insane considering that, while I like the heat, David unequivocally does NOT! But there were free room and family opportunities that prompted the decision. Baby brother was planning a trip after his girls graduated from high school to take the whole family, including his step daughter’s family and Dad and Aunt Judy to Italy. As a planner I guess I’m a little harsh, but I’ve commented before about my brother and paper bags and being trapped inside one without GPS.  He probably wouldn’t have planned ahead and brought batteries for the GPS anyway. Four months before the trip, he discovered the prices for flights to Italy were just a TON pricier than he expected. So, the family trip to Italy became a beach vacation in North Carolina.

The planned beach vacation was his family with Dad and Aunt Judy to the Outer Banks. David had planned his vacation time around his birthday and concert tickets in Washington DC the day before. We asked little bro if he might have room in his beach rental for guests a couple of nights and he was ecstatic that we wanted to join them. So our vacation week included 2 days and three nights in their sound-side rental in Duck, North Carolina, in between trains, 3 baseball games, a Marillion concert and a fun evening car-camping by the railroad tracks. For our two days, we visited The Wright Brothers museum and memorial in Kill Devil Hills, Jenette’s Pier, where my family was fishing, 4 light houses and we ate lots of seafood!

My main issue with the 3 nights at the beachouse was the steps. There was a full flight of stairs into the main level of the house. That’s hurricane protection, but it’s definitely not handicap-friendly at all. Every time I used the steps, someone had to run the walker in front of me so I could grab it when I reached the end and walk in front of me going down or behind me going up with instructions to push hard if I started falling down because I’d rather break a few teeth on the wood steps than my skull on the concrete floor below. Good news is, as nerve-racking as it was doing the steps, I experienced the victorious feeling of accomplishment every time. But next time I go to the beach, we’ll do a hotel with an elevator. I’ve never understood vacation rentals; what kind of vacation is it where you cook, clean and make your own bed? (And do more steps than home!)

My highlight of the beach time was seeing the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras. My parents had traveled to The Outer Banks together and Mom was in her glory seeing the lighthouses. She had brought home a replica of every one of them that were displayed in their bedroom. She was a huge lighthouse fan and Cape Hatteras was her favorite. We shared many lighthouse trips on the Great Lakes, but seeing Hatteras was special for me since she loved it so and that was one we hadn’t seen together. Mom’s lighthouses are on a shelf in our nautical-themed bathroom. I’d been with her to some of them, but it’s neat to have seen a few of the other ones now.

I’ll tell a little more about what we did on vacation in the next week or so. For now, It’s Wednesday and I’m back to my normal week, so, how about a little Hodge Podge?

1. Summer officially rolls in with the Hodgepodge this week, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway. What song says summer 2012 to you?

I can’t think of a specifically 2012. When I was in my 20s and 30s, Summer was always official when I could drive the Camaro with the windows down and Motley Crue’s “Wild Side” blasting in the cassette player. More recently, I think Kati Perry’s “California Girls” makes me think of summer. I’ll probably think of a bunch more after I hit “post.”

2. What's your favorite quintessential summer food?

Gazpacho, A Midsummer Evening’s Pasta and Baseball Nut Ice Cream from Baskin Robbins

Recipe is my random thought

3. I've spent a lot of time traipsing up and down the NJ Turnpike in recent weeks. Did you know the rest areas on the turnpike are named after people who lived or worked in NJ? Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, James Fenimore Cooper, Molly Pitcher, Joyce Kilmer, Thomas Edison, and Gover Clevland just to name a few. Of those I listed, who would you most like to have known and why?

Thomas Edison – he was an old fashioned Steve Jobs!

A little tongue in cheek there, but Edison said “why not?” to so many things that became necessities. Think about it; in the timeline of discovery, without the development of the phonograph to record and replay data, voice, and without a power grid to transmit electricity, would the iPhone or iPad have ever been developed? I just find the historical roots of modern day normal to be fascinating.

4. At what age did you move out of your parent's house and what prompted the move?

I left my parents’ house when I was 40. I was there for the same reason I left; money. I was fine to stay there and drive my sports car while hoping to get to Atlanta, but mergers in the communication production field and the fall of the economy left me really grateful to still be with my parents! I don’t imagine it would have been easy to have to come back after I’d been out!

The economy was challenging Dad’s income and Aunt Judy’s bills and they chose to combine assets. I was already an hour away from my boyfriend and moving with them would put me farther away. Boyfriend offered to let me move in and I thought that was a better choice for me. It ends up that I’m married and still living with that boyfriend now, so it worked out well.

5. What's more satisfying to you-saving time or saving money?

Saving money is wonderful, but I hate wasting time more than anything! I’ll spend more in gas to drive around construction than be stuck in traffic. I need to feel occupied more than I need to see my wallet full.

6. Name something you think brings out the good in people.

Wheelchairs! No, really, people are incredibly kind and want to be helpful to people in wheelchairs.

7. This last question comes to you courtesy of Kathy over at Reflections...Will you be taking a vacation or a staycation this summer? If so where will you go? If a staycation is on the calendar have you made any special plans to fill the time?

If ‘va” is the part that makes it “go someplace,” then “cation” is the part that means “take a break.” That being said, I don’t believe in the word “staycation.” Taking a break to me is seeing something new and NOT being at work or home. It’s also having housekeeping making the bed and the staff at a restaurant serving the food and doing the dishes!

We just got back from 11 days in Virginia and the Carolinas.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Here’s my recipe for A Midsummer Evening’s Pasta, one of my favorite dishes I cook in the summer.


A Midsummer Evening's Pasta
 serves 2

2 cups of dry Farfalle pasta
2 Roma tomatoes
1 cup of fresh basil leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1 TBS. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup of freshly shredded Asiago cheese.

Boil pasta in water with an extra drop of olive oil to keep it from sticking. Cook pasta until it is al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, dice the tomatoes and mix them with the fresh basil and olive oil. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

When pasta is done cooking, drain it and put it in a serving bowl, immediately adding the tomato and basil mixture and the Asiago cheese. Mix it to warm the additional ingredients and melt the cheese.

Serve warm.


Rudd Family Circus said...

Thanks for the recipe it sounds super yummy!!!

April said...

Ooh...I love pasta salad and your recipe sounds DE-LISH! A trip to the Carolinas...you can't go wrong with that!

Theresa said...

I used to drive around in my Firebird with the windows down and music blasting ;)
The pasta salad sounds delish.

Joyce said...

Your pasta salad sounds good! I do love the Outer Banks...when we do rentals with groups we share the cooking so each couple ends up cooking/dishes only once or maybe twice. Breakfast and lunch are all about paper products so no dishes!

The stairs do sound like a challenge and I admire you for viewing them as something to be conquered.

Edna B said...

Sounds like a super vacation. I've been to Duck N.C. before with Audrey. It was really quite beautiful. I give you lots of credit for being able to win over this challenge. Years ago, when I broke my ankle, I went up and down the stairs at college on my behind. Would this help? I know, it doesn't exactly look very ladylike, but it got me up and back down. So glad your vacation was so enjoyable. You have a great day, hugs, Edna B.