Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 6- Mia Miller and the Sleepy Poet

I love me some Mia Miller,  This woman has been a part of my life since Furman.  I remember noticing her during freshman year.  She was one of the coolest band chicks, if not the very coolest.  And she became friends with me!  Lucky me.  Now that she lives in the CLT, I have an exploratory partner in crime.  Today's stop:  The Sleepy Poet Antiques Mall on South Blvd.

Not just any chandelier- a giraffe chandelier!

I listened to this 45 on a post-sleepover Saturday morning in 1987 1000 times without stopping.

We used to frequent the Time Warp in Greenville, a vintage clothing store run by none other than Natalie Merchant's mother.   Today we came full circle.  I purchased the above housedress for a wedding.  Not.

I actually really like this dress on Mia.

You better work that yellow gingham housecoat with the strawberry embroidered pockets!!!

The score of the day- this genuine gum ball machine for Mia's daughter, Pippa.  Love love love this for her.  

It might even work!  Alas, I walked away with no treasures.  But, I will be back to The Sleepy Poet sooner than later.  And watch for my Mia adventures to continue next week!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Day 5- Excuse me, you have some dirt on your nose.

This time of year makes my palms itch.  My feet long to be bare.  And I have become obsessed with developing a garden.  The first thing I long to do in the morning is check how the plants in my yard grew and changed over night.  Perhaps one day I will claim a green thumb of my own.  But for now, I am watching, trying, learning and enjoying getting dirt under my fingernails.  I am descended from great earth movers and planters- Larry and Sandra Haynes.  In fact, they have supplied me with many plants from Georgia, divided and ready to live in North Carolina.  These irises are from one of their friend's yard.  I planted them 3 years ago, and they have just bloomed for the first time.  I can't help but think that these lavender beauties are a timely and gorgeous homage to the late Prince Nelson Rogers.

The lacy fern beauties below were a gift from my friend Mary Virginia's yard.

This strawberry plant was also a gift.  Can you spot the little happy berry?

I planted this kale too late last fall.  It survived the winter, but is only now getting the chance to grow and thrive.  Kale should be on the summer menu at our house.

She ain't pretty, but after transplanting this butterfly bush to a much sunnier spot, I pruned it severely. It looked like a sad stick in the ground, but not for long.  It is loaded with new growth.  I cannot wait for the elegant deep purple blooms!

As I followed my nose around Lowe's one day I couldn't resist this lilac bush.  I know nothing about growing lilac.  But I am giving it a whirl.  See the sunflower seedlings behind it?  That's another experiment.  I dug a 15 foot long narrow trough along the fence in our yard.  After raising these seedlings from seeds I gathered from the sunflower circle I grew 3 years ago, I decided to try a long line of flowers.  The fence should provide support.

This beauty is yet another gift.  Maybe I should coin a name for my yard, the Gift Garden.
Just when this basil had the store-bought basil droopies, I noticed the new tiny leaf growth.  See it?

I have gigantic lavender bushes in the front, but wanted some in the back too.  It is ready to bloom.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Day 4- a map store, a friend, fresh produce and a dream.

About a month ago I had a deep and enthralling dream.  In the moments when I rose back up to the surface of consciousness I found myself repeating a word.  Ennis.  Ennis.  Ennis.  Remember Ennis. Ennis.  Ennis?  I had no point of recognition.  Was it an anagram?  Was it an homophone?  A name?
I was baffled.  I even mentioned it to Rob.  Nothing.  In the following weeks a fact came to me. Ennis is a town in Ireland.  I had never heard of it.  I have never been to Ireland.  I desperately want to go there.  But Ennis?

By 4:30pm yesterday I was at a loss.  My nose had led me nowhere.  So I did what any blogging women of 2016 might do.  I reached out on Facebook.  Help!!  Where should I go?  I had exactly      1 1/2 hours to do some nose following in the Uptown vicinity while my kids rehearsed.  Enter Mia Brasco Miller, one of my oldest and most creative friends from college.  She now (happily) lives in the CLT metro area.  Score.  Her suggestion resonated.  I have driven by 1,000,000 times.  I have always longed to go in.  It was time to finally visit The Map Shop. 


How many map shops have I been to in my life?  0.  I don't know of any other map shops.  What a great way to spend an hour or 2.  They have an extensive map collection (duh) and a nice variety of flags and some pretty cool decorative North Carolina graphics.  See Charlotte below:)

As I wandered through the shop following my nose, I spotted someone I knew- Ann Miano, a friend from St. Peter's.  Her family is considering a trip to Italy, specifically to Sicily.  Huh? Sicily was our honeymoon destination!  We chatted about travel, families, our parish and the like.  But as we spoke, something caught my eye.

That's right, out of the corner of my eye I saw a map of ENNIS.  After revealing my dream to Ann, she enthusiastically persuaded me to buy the map.  I still don't understand it, but following one's nose isn't always logical.  

Around the corner from the Map Shop there happens to be a farmer's market.  I had just enough time to check out the produce and plants before rehearsal ended.

Back at home, a golden tomato made a beautiful addition to the night's sausage risotto. Buon Appetito!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Day 3- cornflower blue, Doug Hutto I love you!

Inspired by the cornflower contraband from yesterday, the great Doug Hutto applied some cool blue streaks into my blonde.  I am enjoying it immensely.  And today's nose adventures reach much farther.  Read about them tomorrow!!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day 2- Cornflower contraband

To drive to my kids' school, I have 2 options.  One route, primarily on I485 and I85, is efficient, simple and quick.  The other route meanders through the Huntersville countryside, winds past the mammoth Metrolina greenhouses, and snakes down the often congested Poplar Tent road.  These days, I opt for the latter.  Why?  Yes, the goat farm is lovely, I love seeing the cow farm with its meadow full of buttercups, and I will never stop marveling at those greenhouses.

All of those landmarks are charming.  But they don't sway me to take country path.  I have seen them 100s of times.  In early April another charmer appears along the country roads.  Cornflowers.  I take the unpredictable route because of the cornflowers.
What in the ^&^*()*&%%&*& is a cornflower?  I remember being introduced to them in the Merchant Ivory film, A Room with a View.  Do you remember the cornflower scene? George and his father have been out walking in Italy and have brought home cornflowers.  They promptly pop in on the Miss Allens to share them.  They decorate their room with them and even toss some into the old maids' hair.  De.light.ful.

We might not have lavender fields in NC, but we have fields of cornflower.

I summoned my inner non-rule follower, stopped the car, and plucked these puppies right out of the ground.  Behold, cornflower contraband.

Beyond their electric blue color and wild beauty, it turns out that cornflowers are downright medicinal.  Read about the cornflower remedies here.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day 1- Butter Chicken

When I got up this morning I had no idea where to follow my nose today.  But, per usual, I thought through the day's dinner plan.  On Sunday 2 of my 3 children had virtually inhaled Butter Chicken from Aroma, an Indian eatery at Concord Mills.  Why not make it myself?

After a quick Pinterest search I had a recipe, but not all the ingredients.  I considered going to Harris Teeter to fill in the gaps.  But I have embarked on a 100 day adventure!!!  Sooooo, why not finally explore that Indian grocery on exit 33 in Mooresville?

Suddenly, there was no reason not too.  I needed to know the difference between Masala Tea (which I had) and Garam Masala (which I didn't have.)  The nice young lady at Yogi Grocery guided me through the difference.

Could I substitute one for the other?  She was firm.  No.  And at $3.99 for 12 ounces, who cares?  

The store was clean and well organized.  Here are the spoils of my trip, below.

OOOH, the butter chicken is almost ready.

I added curry powder to the rice, why not?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

100 Days of following my nose

follow your nose

informal UK
 to trust your own ​feeling rather than ​obeying rules or ​allowing yourself to be ​influenced by other people's ​opinion:
Inspired by a crazy weekend and my infinitely creative friend, Jenny Andrews Anderson, I hereby declare that I am embarking on a 100 day project of my own.  100 days of following my nose.  Image result for follow your nose
What do you mean your crazy weekend?  I am so very glad you asked.  Let's call it a prelude to the 100 days.  Knowing that Rob would be out of town Friday night for work, I decided to take the kids on a road trip.  To Burlington, NC, cause we are the Burlingtons right?  But what if we made it an overnight trip?  Near Burlington.  And then I found it.On Airbnb.  A purple school bus in Saxapahaw.  To rent for the night.  With my 3 children.  As a surprise trip for the night.  So, I picked the kids up early from school with the bags I packed for them in tow.  And we headed out I85.  After the 2 hour trip the kids were ravenous for information about where we were going.  They knew that it was some kind of camping situation.  But, after walking from the van down the woodsy path to the meadow to the bus I had mixed reactions from my offspring.  CC- um, what? Esther- this is great, everything is great, let's do it! Weeeeee!  Robert- Seriously mom, this is the stupidest most disappointing thing in my life thus far.  Can we please go home?  Trying to stay upbeat I made the beds, met some of the folks who work at the farm, and gathered the troops to walk to dinner.  Finding the correct path along the creek that led to town turned out to be a little more complex than I had hoped.  Within 15 minutes we had looped back through the farm to the barn, and away from the path to town.  Whoops.  BUT, then we found some other lost souls.  A family who happened to be renting the barn for the night.  They were friendly, from Connecticut and ending their spring break with the long drive back from Florida.  They had 2 11 year old girls with them and we all headed off to town together for dinner.  After a few more circuitous paths, we surfaced in downtown Saxapahaw, NC.Oh little Saxapahaw.  How I began to love thee at first sight.  We settled our party of 8 in at the farm based pub, The Eddy.  The evening began to really look up.  And then Robert really got talking to our new acquaintances, Dave and Julie Edwards.  It turns out that Dave and Julie are church musicians.  Dave happens to have been a boy chorister in the American Boy Choir in Princeton, NJ where he went to boarding school at the age of 10.  10 years old?  Really?  That's pretty young and THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT MY HUSBAND DID, like approximately 0.00000000000000000001% of the population of the universe.  What year did he become a chorister?  1980.  THAT'S EXACTLY WHEN MY HUSBAND WENT TO SCHOOL.  That reduces the percentage to 0.00000000000000000000000000000000001% of the population of the universe.  The commonalities kept coming all evening long.  Julie has vast knowledge of the living world and is an active lover of essential oils.  I USE ESSENTIAL OILS!  They met each other through music at church.  SO DID WE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1But what about following your nose Laurie?   Well, that's exactly it.  I went out on a limb and decided to do something completely insane and boom, our universe collided with these kind- hearted interesting folks that we will never forget.  The kids (they are Burlingtons after all) loved hanging with the Edwards the best of the whole weekend.  Except for Hershey's chocolate bars for breakfast.  And then we sang around a beautiful camp fire.And then we had to go to sleep on a bus.  What can I say about our night on the bus?  The sheets smelled nice, it almost made me not notice the smell of the composting toilet.  And CC's breathing almost made it so I didn't hear the owls, chickens and dogs all night.  And the quilts kept my body warm, but my nose was cold.  (We found frost on the van in the morning folks.) It's a bus y'all.  Buses are designed to move.  They rock back and forth.  They balance on four wheels. So, when someone turns over in the bed or walks around, the bus shifts.  I never quite adjusted to that.  I wanted to the sun to come up.  And finally, it did.  Changing out of pj's pained me due to the temperature of my jeans and shirt.  Brrrrrrr.  We drove into town at 8am.  A general store has never seemed so luxurious, warm and inviting.  I could even charge my phone inside!!!  We browsed the local fare, met some local folks and filled our bellies.  Suddenly I was ready to conquer the world, composting toilets included!  Back at the farm (where the bus is) we tested out the trampoline, swung out over a little valley, visited the pigs, turkeys, goats and geese and loaded up the 5 million things that one needs to take one's 3 kids camping out in a purple school bus.  The takeaway:  I have no regrets about taking the risk of doing something unknown.  We experienced some imperfect moments, but our memories will gloss over that.  I enjoyed my kids.  Without distractions.  I can't do that at home.  Never could.  I suppose that's a win.