Posts filed under ‘Elizabeth City’
Tonight, May 13th, Pasquotank and Camden County will be having its Relay for Life at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. As such, this is my annual post to see if anyone wants to make a tax-deductible donation for 2011 to the American Cancer Society. BUT THERE’S A TWIST! This year, if you feel enticed to give, I would like to request that you to donate to one of the neighborhood kids instead of through my personal donation page.
In the past two years, the neighborhood kids have taken quite a liking to Relay. They’ve accompanied us each year and have been active walkers. In 2009, one eleven year old walked a little over six miles with us!
This year, four of the neighborhood kids are official members of our “Hunter Street Hope” team. Before Ryan and I moved to Virginia, the kids were of wonderful help with Relay ranging from working on the Christmas Parade float to making thank you gifts for donations to actually updating the www.RiverCityRelay.com website and registering users. I would love to help them make some progress towards their fundraising goals!
In November, Tyrek learned plastic canvas and helped stitch some Holiday Gobblers as thank you gifts for our November donations. Thanks in part to Tyrek’s efforts, we got three surprise donations from Magic Players at the Earth 383 Comic Book Shop!
Tyrek Working on Holiday Gobbler
Finished Holiday Gobbler
Risha & Vick
Sisters Risha and Vick were both active participants in this year’s Relay for Life float for the Elizabeth City Christmas Parade. They volunteered for duty two nights and helped transform a bunch of plywood into the float that won first place in the Civic Category!
Risha Paints Magnolia Leaves
Vick, Debbie and Deanna Work on Float
Khalif also helped decorate the Christmas Parade float, but his contributions extend much further than that. Before I moved, Khalif served as the assistant to the Online Chair for our event. He attended the Team Captain Meetings (and also helped with the setup and clean up) and put his computer skills to work. He helped update the http://www.RiverCityRelay.com website and took the lead on registering users online during our Kickoff Meeting.
Khalif Prepares Team Packets
Khalif Registers Users Online
Whether you decide to give or not to give, thanks for letting me brag about my neighborhood kids! They’ve made me proud…and I do I miss them terribly now that I’m in Virginia.
One of my last outings before I left Elizabeth City was the Fenwick Holloway Wetlands Trail. One Sunday afternoon in January, the dogs and I snuck out there for a quick “hike”. The trail was built in memory of G. Bradford Fenwick, a Naturalist, and Elizabeth V. Hollowell, a Lover of Nature. It’s a series of wooden walkways and gazebos that runs along the Pasquotank River behind the College of the Albemarle and Albemarle Hospital. It’s short and flat and full of wonderful views.
That afternoon, we spied the usual Canadian Geese. We also got to see several Nutria swimming around the walkways.
Perhaps knowing my time in the area was limited, it was the indigenous baldcypress trees that caught my eye that evening.
The dogs and I weren’t out long that afternoon, but we still had ample time to absorb the beauty of the Pasquotank and make mental notes of our happy times in Elizabeth City.
Happy Friday everyone! Families have been informed, co-workers are up to speed, neighborhood kids are in the know. Now is time to update my blog with all the latest news from our household.
1. Ryan’s Job Change
Ryan’s changing jobs. The timing actually worked out super great for me and my colleagues. We’re in the middle of a big migration project and Ryan’s been able to assist us out with some contracting work. Right now he’s integrating our application with Mettler Toledo balances. Ryan’s been a tremendous help! I’m still hoping I can convince him to stay with us permanently!
2. We’re Moving
Related to #1, we’re moving circa February 26th to my hometown of Occoquan, Virginia. I have very much enjoyed Hunter Street and I am sad to leave. Surprisingly, I have yet to find a neighborhood kid who seems as sad as I am! They’re resilient! Nonetheless, I do look forward to being closer to my family… and closer to the mountains. In November, Ryan and I spent a week gutting my maternal grandmother’s house. We’ll be working on reinnovating it once we are back in Occoquan (don’t worry some of that work will be overseeing contractors doing to actual work. ).
Until reinnovations are done, we’ll be staying on the top floor of my parents’ house. It should be a great exercise in patience and stress management. With our combined pets, we’ll have a total of four dogs and three cats on one property. We’ll see how that goes.
Last But Not Least….
Shortly after we were married, I received a Facebook inquiry from Tyrek.
It took a while, but I finally have an answer for him.
Ryan and I are expecting our first child in mid-August!!! We’ll be at 14 weeks tomorrow, which means I somehow survived the terrifying first trimester without the terrifying part. I skated by with minimal trouble from morning sickness. I really, really, really lucked out. A big shout out to whatever force it was that decided to spare me. I owe you one!
And so we have a lot of big changes coming. They’ll be a lot of stress, I’m sure. But there is going to be a lot of great things as well! : )
Phew! We had a busy week with a few extracurricular activities. Enjoy!
Tuesday – Science Fair
On Tuesday night, Tyrek came over and finished up his report and backboard for the J.C. Sawyer Science Fair.
I was feeling pretty good about Tyrek’s project. Then on Wednesday morning when Ryan and I dropped the project off at J.C. Sawyer Elementary, we got a glimpse of the handiwork of Tyrek’s classmates. Man, all of those kids worked really hard and some of them got super creative with decorating the backboards. Tyrek and the philodendrons have some stiff competition! : )
Thursday – Relay for Life Team Meeting
On Thursday, the Pasquotank/Camden Relay for Life had their Team Captain’s Meeting. Khalif and Terrance came with me. Khalif even got to spin the prize wheel and won a hat. Both boys were very helpful. Khalif got some people registered online, Terrance took some pictures for the recap and both helped the committee members pack up their cars. Since the meeting, Khalif and his grandmother have already raised $35 more dollars for Relay. Go Hunter Street Hope!
Saturday – National Blonde Brownie Day
The Year of Living Unofficially tipped us off that January 23rd was National Blonde Brownie Day. Early in the day, Ryan and I perused and picked out a Blonde Brownie recipe. That afternoon we made ourselves a special treat to enjoy after our supper of turkey chili.
The brownies turned out to be quite serendiptious. At 3 AM, I had to get up for a support call. This exceedingly unappealing activity had a surprising silver lining. I may have had to get out of bed. BUT— I had leftover brownies to assist me!
A year ago today, Ryan taught the final class for the Computer Literacy Program and a little black kitten showed up on our deck afterwards. Despite our claims of taking him to the SPCA, the kitten ended up part of our household.
I wanted this post to be accompanied by never before seen (on the blog) Qubit pictures. It turns out that was harder than I thought. It seems I don’t take a lot of pictures of Qubit, but I managed to scrounge some shots up. Luckily there is no relationship between the quantity of pictures and the magnitude of my affection for the cat. He’s one of my favorites. : )
Qubit Modeling a Crochet Hat for Henry’s Bark for Life
Saturday night, the Elizabeth City Jaycees hosted their annual Christmas Parade which includes a float competition. I believe there were roughly 90 floats participating, including one sponsored by our Pasquotank/Camden Relay for Life. The week proceeding the parade, our Event Chair organized a series of decorating sessions to get the float ready. The theme this year was “Supporting Our Troops”. So we made our float the “Let Freedom Ring” float. One of those freedoms ringing would be freedom from cancer.
The neighborhood kids proved to be very worthy helpers as Ryan and I prepared for the wedding. I checked and they were more than willing to help with the Relay for Life float as well.
Monday night, Ryan and I were accompanied by Vick and Risha. We had a hearty, but not exactly healthy, supper at Taco Bell then we met up with everyone and worked on the float!
Thursday Ryan had a late conference call, but that didn’t mean I went alone. Khalif, Terrance, Jacal and young Malena all came to help. Our primary focus was lining the bottom of the float with little silver bells to compliment our “Let Freedom Ring” theme. The most difficult part of this operation seemed to be untangling the bells, though reloading the staple gun was a doozie as well.
There was plenty of time for play too. We posed for pictures and the kids had a chance to play some football.
Afterwards I treated everyone to supper at their favorite Chinese restaurant.
Friday, my helpers were Vick and Risha. Only when we showed up, the float was already done! : ) So we decided to go out to eat and then took in Christmas lights before heading home.
The neighborhood kids, Ryan and I were far from the only helpers on the float. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, I thought we ended up with a great float. Despite some very chilly weather, a number of people showed up to ride the float. Two survivors were particularly determined to walk instead of ride, which was super cool because that is what I wanted to do! The people who rode on the float rang purple bells. The walkers (that’s me!) got to hand out candy to bystanders.
The judges apparently liked our float as well. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, including the neighborhood kids, our float won 1st Place in the Civic category!!!
More pictures of our float and the Elizabeth City Christmas Parade are available on my Flickr site.
P.S. Touched by the efforts of neighborhood kids? With 2010 coming to a close, you still have time to make a tax-deductible donation to one of their Relay for Life donation pages:
For roughly five years, Ryan has been helping out at Earth 383 Comics and Games. The neighborhood kids and I started to tag along on Friday nights when Ryan manages the WotC Friday Night Magic games. At first, the kids and I showed up for endeavors other than Magic. I rather liked the shop as a place to catch up on programming tasks. Meanwhile the kids were drawn in by the XBox and Rock Band.
Over the summer, our motives for showing up Friday nights have changed. Ryan taught the boys Magic… and they LOVE it. They play amongst themselves, come over for card interpretations, save up for card sleeves and dice, and text me each Friday afternoon to see what time they can come to Earth 383. As I tried to be supportive of their first WotC draft and helped the younger ones with their matches, I found myself captivated as well. There are still Friday nights where I use the time to program… but now there are also Friday nights where after a long week, I look forward to shutting the laptop down and playing Magic with Ryan and the kids.
Friday Night Magic has become such a mainstay of our week that when Earth 383 had a party celebrating its 8th Anniversary, it was a no brainer! We had to go! So Saturday, October 16th we headed down to Earth 383 for the celebration. There were people in costumes, delicious food to eat and lots of games– Yu-gi-oh!, Dominion, RoboRally and of course, Magic.
The comic book shop has been such a great community for us and has brought along so many great memories and experiences. I hope there are many more anniversaries to come!
A few weeks ago, Ryan and I had some free time, so we went kayaking! If we had waited a couple of days we could have launched from our front porch. We still had it pretty good. We carried the kayaks to a little inlet near our house and we were off. I’ve got to say– it was very appealing to finish up the trip and not have to worry about mounting the kayaks to the top of the X-Terra.
We started off on Dawson near the Elizabeth City Fish Court. We paddled along the Charles Creek Park and past the Charles Creek Bridge construction. By the way, the bear bag technique is still employeed! After that, past the Harbor of Hospitality, the Downtown Market and then under the 158 Drawbridge. Soon we were passing by Camden Causeway Park. We took a large bend in the river, went under some railroad tracks and eventually we made our way to Albemarle Hospital. We explored the little inlet near the College of the Albemarle Nature Trail and headed back.
We were fighting the wind back home, but we arrived safe and sound. The whole trip was between 8-10 miles.
It was a rather beautiful day. Numerous wild flowers were blooming, meanwhile the baldcypress trees were just starting their fall colors. In urban areas, I am enamoured by nature taking over. It’s even more impressive when you are in the middle of a river and still get to see trees and plants finding a way to survive.
Yellow Flowers (By Ryan Somma)
Our trip would be fitting for the Circus of the Spineless. Spiders, grasshoppers, bumblebees, ants and a nostalgic childhood favorite of mine– bag worms!!!
Spider (by Ryan Somma)
Bumblebee (by Ryan Somma)
This outing we may have encountered the most unsavory kind of scat. Human scat. Ryan and I were paddling along when Ryan noticed a peculiar odor. At first he suspected himself as we all do from time to time and then in horror he remembered a newspaper article from earlier in the week.
“I have some bad news to tell you,” he said, “But I don’t know if I should.”
I paddled closer and wondered what could possibly be so bad. Noting we were far from shore, I knew what *my* worst case scenario would be.
“Are you sick to your stomach?” I asked.
“That [500,000 gallon] sewage spill I told you about,” Ryan said, “It was here.”
Whoopsie. We had both totally forgotten about that little incident when we left.
I was still digesting the news when a waterskiier whizzed by.
“Welp,” I thought, “At least I’m not him!” : )
Ever since the first cartoon pig banner showed up in Elizabeth City, the neighborhood kids have been talking about the Chowan County Fair. It would be difficult to resist such enthusiasm. For the second year in a row, Ryan and I agreed to drive. On Friday October 1, with part of our yard still underwater, we left Elizabeth City behind and headed to Edenton, North Carolina for an evening of fun!
It’s safe to say that Ryan and the kids are more enthusiastic about the rides than I. I am a fan of “The Drop” (perk: it is over almost immediately), but this year I opted to steer clear of the rides that have a significant amount of spinning, particularly that nasty Fireball I ventured on last year. On the upside, this gave me more quality time with my camera!
On Friday nights, I tend to use up the quarters I have on hand at the Hot Tamale machine at Earth 383 Comic and Games. This particular Friday night, we were far from the Hot Tamale machine, but I did find a use for the week’s quarter stockpile. The petting zoo had little dispensers of food! We purposely fed some ducks and the longhorn bull. I not so purposely fed a goat.
Last year, Ryan and I were surprised by the exhibitions, particularly the diversity in poultry (more on them in a different post). This year we both brought our cameras specifically to take pictures of some of the entries. The Chowan County Fair has over $12,000 in cash prizes for handiwork. The amount of categories is amazing. In all age groups you can enter crafts, cooking, fruits, vegetables, dried food, you name it. They even had a category for chestnuts!
Some of the items I thought would be tricky to judge. I took the following picture of the blueberries because to my untrained eyes they didn’t seem any different. I wondered how one plate of blueberries were conclusively deemed better than the other. But when I showed the pictures at home, the answer was obvious to Tyrek. “The one of the left,” he said with authority, “They are bluer.”
I love that there are so many categories and so many opportunities to be recognized. It rewards local talent… and promotes growing your own food as well. I’m somewhat tempted to try to enter something next year. : )
Hiking Knowledge in Action
A hike leader from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club once told me about a hard lesson he learned on one of his group hikes. In the middle of the hot, humid summer season, he led a lengthy day hike with a formidable ascent. He didn’t realize it until they were well within the hike– one of the hikers in the group didn’t bring ANY water with him at all. After that, the hike leader told me, he always checked everyone’s supplies before they left the trailhead. I exercised a similiar practice for the fair. The fair is one of few adventure days Ryan and I don’t fully fund, so I made sure all the kids had enough money for the entrance fee before we left Elizabeth City. I may live far from the mountains, but I still find a way to apply the knowledge I’ve learned from the hiking community! : )
For the second year in a row, we all had a fabulous time at the Chowan County Fair. I have already heard murmurs about our trip next year. Only 348 more days to go!
More pictures of the Chowan County Fair can be found on my Flickr site.