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weekend de-brief

This weekend was glorious. Weather in the 60’s and an all around sense of returning to normalcy with us. Or as “normal” as normal can be these days I suppose…

On Saturday (after scoping out a couple of potential new digs) we did what typical homeowners do at the onset of spring: open all the windows in the house only to discover the colony of things that have taken up residence behind our screens since the last time we opened said windows (likely, at the end of February 2013). Only made sense to deep clean the windows, screens, and anything else I could get my hands (ne the vacuum) on. Thankfully that’s taken care of. For now at least. #storyofmylife

The weather on Sunday was too nice to sit in the kitchen and make breakfast [our normal song and dance]. We dragged a bewildered Windsor to an al fresco meal before hitting the Greenway for a long walk (aptly timed as the paths were filling up with folks wielding jogging strollers, bikes, and all sorts of other athletic accouterments just as we were leaving).

For my own mental sanity, I then headed out for 5 miles alone on my favorite route through our zip code. I returned home with aching calves, the tiniest sunburn (seriously), and a smile on my face for what I deemed a successful and productive morning. Beats the hell out of sitting around and watching HGTV until 1:30.

This week will be pretty chaotic with several day-long meetings and traveling on the docket. Though, I’m not sure you’ll ever hear me complain about “traveling” while getting to stay at Mom & Dad’s house.

I usually don’t like doing these “look what I did this weekend” sort of recaps but I just can’t help but think how lovely it was to have a tiny glimmer of beautiful weather. Gives me all the confidence in the world that we can hang on for more short weeks of cold just to enjoy what’s right around the corner.

Rose Wine. (kidding. kind of.)

ps- for those that asked, same kicks (different color) though I really dig these.

Things to do in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill

Suzanne asked (via email): My fiancé and I are thinking of planning a vacation to Raleigh &the surrounding areas sometime in the late spring for a long weekend (4 days or so). Neither of us have ever visited and so we’re kind of at a loss. Is there a certain area of the city we should stay? We are considering both hotels & AirBnB. Our vacation philosophy is eat, drink, walk around, relax. Think, centering our days around sleeping in, good restaurants, and happy hour at 4- so I guess walkability is important, though we’ll probably rent a car. 

I will say this- if you’re coming all the way to area, I highly suggest taking one full day to explore Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Each city is so unique and different and you would be missing out if you strictly stuck to Raleigh proper. And a personal opinion- you 100% need to rent a car.

In Chapel Hill- go walk the UNC campus (stunning), eat @ Foster’s Market, have tea @ The Carolina Inn, and take a little excursion to check out Fearrington Village if you have time (which is home to one of NC’s best small hotels as well as one of the South’s most celebrated restaurants. fair warning: it’s in the country). I would be remiss if I didn’t mention catching a basketball game while you’re visiting Tobacco Road— if that’s your kind of thing. 

In Durham- go see Duke, tour downtown Durham, visit the Life and Science Museum, and check out the Durham Farmer’s Market (if the season permits). Grab a drink (and a taco) @ Nana Taco, City Beverage, Fullsteam Brewery. Eat at Nana’s, Pop’s, or Mateo. Or of course there’s Vin Rouge (French) which is a personal favorite of ours. Order the classic mussels, the pommes frites, a glass of rose, and sit on the patio if weather allows. Trust me.

In Raleigh- go to the Museum of Natural Sciences, the NC Museum of Art, the Raleigh Flea market (@ the fairgrounds), the spa @ Umstead Hotel. Eat @ Mandolin, Stanbury, Calavera, The Angus Barn. Grab a cocktail (and the pork nachos) @ Raleigh Times, Fox’s Liquor Bar, The Wild Turkey Lounge (@ Angus Barn), or Busy Bee Cafe. If you stay downtown, walk to Krispy Kreme for a warm donut or go grab brunch @ Joule. I’m also a fan of Humble Pie for small plates or brunch.

Edit: I totally forgot one of the most important parts— shopping! Swing by Cameron Village (Raleigh), Southpoint (Durham), or North Hills (midtown Raleigh) for some great retail therapy.

Now the question of where to stay. If you can get a good deal— The Umstead is stunning and worth every penny (though it is expensive and is driving distance to anything else). Other hotel choices include  Renaissance @ North Hills (walking distance to great food, drinks, shopping in midtown Raleigh), Marriott City Center (downtown Raleigh), the Hampton Inn on Glenwood South (downtown Raleigh), or Aloft (Chapel Hill).

And I’ll be honest- this airbnb posting is pretty freaking fabulous and about the same price as the hotels. 5 Points is a close drive to downtown and is a DARLING area of Raleigh. 

Anyone else have “Must Do’s” to share with Suzanne while in Raleigh?

I can now whole heartedly admit that I am a full blown wuss.

I went out for my first outdoor run in months last night. Stupidly, I assumed the temperature [as the sun was setting] was the same as it had been around 2 pm when I last checked the thermometer in my car. I donned my crop running pants, a baseball cap, and my thinnest long sleeve tee for my favorite route around my neighborhood.

My first mile was great- aided in part by an elderly gentleman in the red sports coat that gave me a great big, friendly wave as I hit my first hill. “Solid win; this will be a good one.” I thought to myself.

And then I hit a cramp at mile 2. Followed by what I thought was a bloody nose (thanks dry December air) at mile 3. By mile 4, I threw in the towel and headed home.

Mondays are supposed to be my long run of the week. A 4 mile excursion is hardly what I call a successful endeavor for myself but I also know when enough is enough. And last night, I’d had enough.

I don’t know if I’m the only odd chicken in the bunch, but the only place I really sweat when I run is in the bend of my elbow. And when wearing the thinnest of materials- these damp places on my tee turned into freezing cold patches in a matter of minutes.

I was beyond cold (teeth chattering and all) when I walked through the door. The only thing I could muster the strength for was to head directly to the tub for a piping hot bath. Have I mentioned that in the 5 years since we moved in our house, I’ve taken one single, solitary bath. Desperate [freezing] times called for desperate measures. A blistering hot bath was just the thing to de-thaw my apparently delicate, pansy-like body.

I am fully aware of what a wimp I sound like in this post and I am totally accepting of the fact that I’ll never be cut out for running in the snow, the Polar Bear Plunge, or living in the Artic Circle. I may be the only person on the face of the Earth that actually appreciates North Carolina summers with it’s 97% humidity but at least I’m able to feel my toes. More power to y’all sporting your thermal tights, your running caps, and your fleece lined mittens but I’ll be on the treadmill (damn monotonous machine) running in circles like a gerbil until the temperatures start creeping back into the 60’s.

On second thought- sounds like a perfect time to start taking Pure Barre again.

this has been a post about an excruciatingly cold, tedious, bad run. straight boring for most of you- but welcome to my real life.

Here’s a story I’m surprised I haven’t actually shared with you all yet.

Last year, a handful of days before Christmas, Windsor was rushed to the emergency vet with what we feared was a stroke. She had dancing eyeballs (darting back in forth from one side to another with no focus) and looked like a drunken sailor when standing. It appeared to be the canine version of vertigo; she couldn’t walk and we immediately feared the worst.

We left our sweet girl overnight for observations and I can only now look back and think how scared she must have been to get dropped off at a strange place and then have her people desert her. It wasn’t my finest moment as a [dog] parent.

The next morning, after what seemed like 45 minutes of restless sleep, we headed back to the emergency clinic to a vet that gave us no answers. They had pumped her full of saline (poor gal was so bloated she could hardly move) and monitored her all night but could only guess she had something called vestibular syndrome; an unexplained neurological disorder nearly always found in older dogs. We were told there was no explanation for her illness.

Blake- having been raised with a herd of Sheepdogs- kindly disagreed with the doctor, paid the astronomical bill, and asked for Windsor’s walking papers. We then immediately called my cousin’s wife who is a vet in Beaufort [SC] to review her charts.

The vet had neglected to mention that W had a skyrocketing temperature which is a key signal of an inner ear infection in a large breed dog. Fortunately for us, Jessica was able to phone in an Rx for Windsor and we started her on the medication immediately. In only 24 hours, our girl was able to walk again (though it would be days — yes, days — before she was able to fully function and walk up and down the stairs). We spent 3 nights sleeping downstairs [me on the couch, Blake on the floor with Lady W] so she knew we weren’t deserting her again.

Moral of the story is this: just as a real parent is for their child, you are your dog’s advocate. Please do research on hospitals that you’d take your four legged family member to in the event of an emergency. Raleigh folks, let me strongly recommend NC State’s small animal clinic. And THIS is the horrible emergency clinic we took Windsor to.

Thankfully, after a couple of weeks of meds and a lot of TLC, Windsor Louise was good [and lazy] as ever.

Ps- W is sending so many get better wishes to her beautiful friend Cotton.