Posts filed under ‘Elizabeth City’

Some Things That Did Not Get Blogged About in 2011

Well, goodbye 2011! I’ve seen a number of blogs highlight their favorite posts of the year. I’m going to highlight some of the forgotten posts– the ones I never got around to writing. ūüôā

Billy Goat Trail – A Return Trip

Billy Goat Trail - Greg, Ryan and Ryan Climb Rock Wall

My Birthday Hike this year was on Maryland’s Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac River. Ryan and I thought it would be fun to do a group hike on that trail. As luck would have it, my friend Greg Z organized a group hike that following month. The weather was sketchy at first and we did have to wait out a storm under a bridge, but after that we had the trail almost all to ourselves.
Billy Goat Trail - Purple and Blue Wildflowers

My favorite part– my friend Greg Z told me when some of the people in the group were struggling on the rocks, he watched me get further and further ahead. Apparently he pointed and said, “THAT’s the one that’s pregnant.”

We walked the trail the opposite direction Ryan and I took in March. It was nice to see the trail from a different perspective. Also since it was a month later, we got to see wildflowers bloom!

A Most Pleasant Day

Mother’s Day Weekend, Ryan and I went down to visit our old neighborhood in Elizabeth City. We shared honeysuckle in our yard with some of the neighborhood kids. When Ryan went to shake Khalif’s hand, Khalif would have none of it.

“Nah, man.” Khalif said, “We hug.” And so they did. I believe that was our first neighborhood kid hug.

I was six months pregnant at the time and some of the kids marveled at how fat I was.

“It’s only temporary,” Ryan chimed in. Then when the subject came up again, “The pounds are going to just melt off.” Although he directed his statements to the kids, I know who his real target audience was! He was making sure his wife kept her self esteem in tact. : )

We went by Earth 383 for Free Comic Book Day. A number of the neighborhood kids joined us and Ryan organized a large game of RoboRally.

Elizabeth City May 2011 Visit - Moving RoboRally Pieces

One family wasn’t present, so the dogs and I walked over to their new home. When I was still a block away, the youngest kids spotted us and started shouting out my name. They ran inside and their older siblings emerged. The 17-year old son who always seemed somewhat indifferent, came running out with the biggest smile and hugged me in the middle of the street. I spent the remainder of our time in Elizabeth City visiting with that family.

Elizabeth City May 2011 Visit - Vicky and Vick (By Ryan Somma)

The next stop was Ryan’s parent’s house in Virginia Beach. When we returned home, I went swimming in the lake behind their house with my sister-in-law and her fiance. The water was the perfect temperature and it was so pleasant and relaxing to be swimming by manicured back yards along side of ducks and seagulls.

We finished our day with a big family dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. There, I got my very first Mother’s Day card… that Ryan had secretly gotten his relatives to sign. It was a great day from start to finish.

My Relatives Kick Ass…Literally

New York Shaolin Test Day - Rachelle with Broad Sword
In May, Ryan¬†and I got to visit the New York Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. That was just an added bonus though. We were really in New York to watch my sister-in-law test for her black belt in Shao-Lin. All the forms she and her classmates had to remember and¬†execute was simply awe-inspiring. That afternoon also brought me the worst heartburn of my entire pregnancy courtesy of a “Magic Bar” I bought as a concession. I still made it through the entire gestation period Tums-Free.


Seattle Bug Safari

Seattle Bug Safari - Goliath Bird Eater Tarantula 4 (By Ryan Somma)
In May, Ryan and I visited Seattle. Our outings were blogged about except the Seattle Bug Safari. We very much enjoyed our visit there. The employee working that day was extremely friendly and informative. You could also see that they take their Yelp reviews seriously. One of the reviews indicated that people were getting confused and thinking the Gift Shop was the extent of the business. When we arrived, there were signs making it clear the Bug Zoo was in the back.

Annual Black Friday Cookie Decorating

Cookie Decorating - Sagan Decorating with Daddy
My family held our annual Black Friday Cookie Decorating again this year. Although we were late on the invites, it was heavily attended. When all the sugar cookies got decorated, some enterprising young girls started to decorate the other variety of cookies. Sagan also decorated his first cookie (with Daddy’s help).


Bull Run Occoquan Trail – Bull Run Regional Park to Hemlock Overlook

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Henry, Sagan, Vicky (By Ryan Somma)
In December, Ryan started playing Skyrim. The scenery in that game is amazing and Ryan found all the walking in the game made him want to get out and do a real hike. So on December 3rd, our family took on a one way trip along the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. We traveled 7.5 miles from Bull Run Regional Park to Hemlock Overlook. This section may not have been as scenic as Skyrim, but it was still gorgeous in its own right. You walk along the water, get to see some rapids, pass by a memorial pet rock pile and see some neat trees along the way. This outing was Sagan’s longest hike to date (post birth).

January 1, 2012 at 11:02 am 2 comments

Relay for Life Donations for the Neighborhood Kids

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 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!

Plastic Canvas - Tyrek Works
Tyrek Working on Holiday Gobbler
Holiday Gobbler - Grey and Pink
Finished Holiday Gobbler

Tyrek’s Donation Page

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!

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Risha Paints Magnolia Leaves
Risha Paints Magnolia Leaves
Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vick, Debbie, Deanna Coat Front of Float
Vick, Debbie and Deanna Work on Float

Risha’s Donation Page
Vick’s Donation Page

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 website and took the lead on registering users online during our Kickoff Meeting.

Relay for Life Kickoff - Khalif Prepares Team Packets
Khalif Prepares Team Packets
Relay for Life Kickoff - Khalif Registers Users
Khalif Registers Users Online

Khalif’s Donation Page

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.

May 13, 2011 at 1:00 am 3 comments

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands Trail

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.

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Jimmie, Henry, Vicky Shadows
Jimmie, Henry and Vicky Shadows on Walkway

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Baldcypress, Gazebos and Walkways
Baldcypress Trees, Walkway and Gazebo

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Walkway and Sunset
Walkway and Sun

That afternoon, we spied the usual Canadian Geese. We also got to see several Nutria swimming around the walkways.

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Nutrias

Perhaps knowing my time in the area was limited, it was the indigenous baldcypress trees that caught my eye that evening.

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Baldcypress and Sunday
Baldcypress Tree in the Pasquotank River

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Baldcypress Branches at Dusk
Baldcypress Tree at Dusk

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.

More pictures of the Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands Trail can be found on my Flickr site.

March 22, 2011 at 1:00 am 3 comments

News x 3

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!

Lab Visit - ZJ and Ryan in Hair Nets
The Obligatory Hairnet Shot

Elizabeth City - Ryan Working on Balances
Ryan Working on Balance Integration

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. ūüôā ).

Grandma's House - Overgrown Exterior on 9_19_2010
Home Sweet Home….Eventually*
*It doesn’t look like this right now, Ryan already cleared away all the brush

Grandma's House - Living Room on 9_19_2010
Living Room on 9/19/2010

Grandma's House - Living Room on 11_1_2010
Living Room on 11/1/2010

Grandma's House - Living Room on 11_2_2010
Living Room on 11/2/2010

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. ūüôā

Last But Not Least….
Shortly after we were married, I received a Facebook inquiry from Tyrek.

Inquiry From Tyrek
Vicky When Is You Going to Have a Baby!

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!

8 Week 4 Day Ultrasound - Marked Up
Ultra Sound at 8 Weeks, 4 Days

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! : )

February 11, 2011 at 11:08 am 6 comments

Hunter Street Happenings – Week of January 16, 2011

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.

Tyrek Science Fair - Tyrek Gluing Items on Backboard
Tyrek Gluing Backboard

Tyrek Science Fair - Backboard, Plants and Report
Final Layout

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!

Relay for Life Team Captain Meeting - Prize Wheel
Prize Wheel in Action!

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.

National Blonde Brownie Day - Ryan Eats Brownie
Ryan Eats a Brownie

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!

National Blonde Brownie Day - They Are Even Better at 3 AM!
Blonde Brownies are Even Better at 3:31 AM EST

January 23, 2011 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

Qubit’s First Anniversary on Hunter Street!

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.

So happy one year anniversary to the egg-nog drinking, Christmas ornament batting, grapefruit chasing, dog food stealing, adoreably forgivable Qubit!

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. : )

20091225 - Clint (bg), Qubit - (by Dad) - 4255656988_f5b19fc967_o
Qubit Yawning (Photo by Vic L)

Qubit Models Hat
Qubit Modeling a Crochet Hat for Henry’s Bark for Life

Elizabeth City Snow - Qubit and Tree
Qubit’s First Snow

Elizabeth City Snow - Tyrek and Qubit 2
Qubit and Tyrek

December 16, 2010 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Craft Week with the Neighborhood Kids – Christmas Parade Float #relayforlife

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!

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vick, Debbie, Deanna Coat Front of Float
Vick, Event Chair Debbie, and Kids Walk Chair Deanna Cover the Front of the Float

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Risha Paints Magnolia Leaves
Risha Spray Paints Magnolia Leaves for the Float

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float with Risha, Deanna and Vick
Float Coming Together on Monday Night

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.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Khalif Untangles Bells
Khalif Untangles Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vicky and Terrance Hang Bells
Vicky and Terrance Hang Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vicky, Jacal, Malena Hang Bells
Vicky, Jacal and Malena Hang Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Malena Sweeps
Malena Sweeps

There was plenty of time for play too. We posed for pictures and the kids had a chance to play some football.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Khalif, Terrance, Jacal with Sign
Khalif, Terrance and Jacal with Santa’s List

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Terrance Football Catch
Terrance with the Football

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Jacal, Vicky, Malena
Jacal, Vicky and Malena Pose for Pictures

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.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Side of Float on Friday
Float Waiting for Dark

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Lit Float Tree (Far)
Our Tree and Santa’s Wish List

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Front of Float
Back of the Float – The Flags and Wreath Were Mounted By Ryan!

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float on the Move - Truck and Front
Float on the Move

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float Turns on Main Street
Float Turns on Main Street

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:

Vick’s Donation Page
Risha’s Donation Page
Khalif’s Donation Page

December 7, 2010 at 1:00 am 2 comments

Earth 383 8th Anniversary

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.

Earth 383 Anniversary - Mark and Liza
Mark and Liza Dressed Up As Green Lanterns

Earth 383 Anniversary - Ryan and Terrance
Ryan and Terrance

Earth 383 Anniversary - Zombie Gets a Hot Dog
A Zombie Gets Food

Earth 383 Anniversary - Young Batman Eats
An Adorable Little Batman

Earth 383 Anniversary - Malena Draws Green Lantern Vicky (and Green Latern Vicky is HOT!)
Malena Draws a “Green Lantern Vicky”. (I was quite pleased with the flattering¬†curves she gave me!!!)

Earth 383 Anniversary - Games and Rock Band
Games and Rock Band

Earth 383 Anniversary - Robo Rally in Action
Khalif, Jacal, Dada, Terrance and RoboRally!

Earth 383 Anniversary - Robo Rally - Pressure's on Khalif
Khalif Under Pressure in RoboRally

Earth 383 Anniversary - Jacal and Fletcher
Jacal and Fletcher Play 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!

More pictures of the Earth 383 8th Anniversary can be found on my Flickr site.

Follow Earth 383 Comic and Games on Facebook!

October 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm 1 comment

Kayaking: Charles Creek to Albemarle Hospital

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.

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Charles Creek 'Bridge'
Charles Creek Bridge Construction

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Charles Creek Crane
Bear Bag Action

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Harbor of Hospitality
Harbor of Hospitality Sign

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - River and Farmer's Market
Downtown Market (The Tents on the Right)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Ryan Paddles Near Elizabeth Road Bridge
Ryan Approaches 158 Bridge

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Backside of Camden Causeway Season Compare
Camden Causeway Park From the Water

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Ryan with Oasis of Vegetation
Ryan in Pasquotank River

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Old Winch
Old Winch in Water

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Albemarle Hospital Gazebo 2
Gazebo Behind Albemarle Hospital

We were fighting the wind back home, but we arrived safe and sound. The whole trip was between 8-10 miles.

Kayaking Trip

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.

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Old Pier and Changing Leaves near Camden Causeway Park
Baldcypress Tree in Autumn

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Berries and Sky
Berries and Sky (Would these be Winged Sumac Maybe?)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - River Tree (Portait)
Tree in the River (Tupelo Maybe?)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Yellow Flower (By Ryan Somma)
Yellow Flowers (By Ryan Somma)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Changing Leaves in Light
Changing Leaves

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Oasis of Wildflowers
An Island of Wildflowers

Our trip would be fitting for the Circus of the Spineless. Spiders, grasshoppers, bumblebees, ants and a nostalgic childhood favorite of mine– bag worms!!!

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Spider From Side (Photo by Ryan Somma)
Spider (by Ryan Somma)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Grasshopper
This Grasshopper Found a Dry Home in the Middle of the River

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Bumblebee (By Ryan Somma)
Bumblebee (by Ryan Somma)

Kayaking - Pasquotank River - Bagworm (Blurry)

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!” : )

More pictures of our Pasquotank Kayaking Trip can be found on my Flickr site.

October 11, 2010 at 10:20 pm Leave a comment

Adventure Day with the Neighborhood Kids — Chowan County Fair

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!

Chowan County Fair - Khalif and Jacal on Freak Out
Khalif and Jacal on a Ride I Didn’t Ride

Chowan County Fair - Ryan and Terrance on Code
Ryan and Terrance on a Ride I Didn’t Ride

Chowan County Fair - Ferris Wheel
Ferris Wheel! I’ll Ride That!

Chowan County Fair - Games From Ferris Wheel
Vendors and Games From the Ferris Wheel

Chowan County Fair - Drop Zone Approach From Ferris Wheel
“The Drop” – I Actually Rather Like This One

Chowan County Fair - Terrance

Chowan County Fair - DJ, Tavon, Armani, Terrance
Some of the Boys

Chowan County Fair - Deja and Khaliya
The Girls

Petting Zoo
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.

Chowan County Fair - Petting Zoo - Kids with Longhorn
Khaliya Feeds the Longhorn Bull

Chowan County Fair - Petting Zoo - Goat Eats Vicky's Bookbag (By Ryan Somma)
This Goat Thought My Bookbag was Yummy

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!

Chowan County Fair - Chestnuts
Award Winning Chestnuts

Chowan County Fair - Gourds
Award-Winning Gourds

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.”

Chowan County Fair - Blueberries
Award-Winning Blueberries

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.

October 9, 2010 at 10:00 pm 6 comments

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