Friday, December 31, 2010

On the cusp of a new year.....

I'm sure I'm not the first to say.....My goodness! This year has just FLOWN by!  At the start of every year I find myself wondering if it's ever going to get going.  Then, before you know it, the summer is over and all of a sudden it's Christmas and a new year is just around the corner.  Then I find myself wondering....where on earth did the year go and what the heck did I do all year???

The highlights of this year include:

Kev not killing himself falling off his bike.  Don't know if you recall that one but he knocked himself unconscious and was transported to Big Duke. Didn't know his name. Talking out of his head. Major concussion.  For a while there I thought maybe I wouldn't ever get my Kev back.  Thankfully he's back to his same silly self with no seeming lingering effects of the accident.

I freaking got into Duke for grad school!!!  YEAH!!!  Please remind me that this was a highlight of my year when I get on here in the coming months and moan and gripe about how school is sucking the life out of me :D

I found some additional creative outlets - incorporating metals and whatnot into my repertoire.  Keep checking back.  I've got some fun stuff planned :)

Thank you everyone for being a part of my life this past year.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post Holiday Slump....

I finally feel like things are slowing down. Even though my last day of work was on the 13th I didn't really feel like I was winding down because there was so much craziness going on with the house and then the ramping up to the holidays (even though we didn't do anything!).  But with the start of this week I really am in full-blown veg mode :D

The house isn't completely done yet. Unfortunately they had an issue with one window that's held up the job. I'm hoping that window comes in today in which case it might get installed sometime later this week - maybe after the snow melts - and then they can finish the siding and painting on that one section. Some of the gutters still need to be finished. Same thing with later on this week. Can't imagine anyone wants to get on a 20ft ladder while there's ice and snow on the ground.

In the meantime, DH and I are fortunate enough that we get a full 2 weeks to spend together. This time is super precious because I have no idea how much time we're going to get to spend together like this once the insanity of school starts.  We don't have any major things planned other than to veg together and do whatever we want whenever we want.  It's pretty sweet :)

I've managed to sit down and torch a couple of times. Played with some silver. Got some new ideas cooking. More on that later.  For now here are some house pics for fun.....

Hope you're staying warm and safe this winter season!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Haven't updated in a while.  Kind of been all over the place. Wrapping up work. Trying to get all of my life-support courses renewed so I won't have to do it until close to the end of school.

They're working on the house (siding and windows).  Those of you in-the-know know that this has been a rather extended project and, while we're getting closer to being done, it isn't moving along a quickly as I had hoped.  I think the plan is to have all of the house wrapped up by the end of the week next week. 

My last day of work is Monday.  Haven't quite figured out how I feel about that.  Wednesday I'm officially switching status from worker to student.  Wish me luck as I have to travel to Buffalo to cross the border to get paperwork done. Given the ridiculous amount of snow that's been coming down up there I'm wondering whether I'll actually make it there and back on Wednesday as planned.

In the meantime I haven't really been at the torch but did manage to work on my first ever spinner ring as well as a couple of mini cab rings to go with the stacking bands.

That's all I've got.  Well, actually there's something else in the works but I'll update you on that once it's a done deal :)

Hope you're staying warm wherever you are.  It's kind of freezing here in NC which is very, VERY, unusual!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Yeah....I'm on a crazy ring making spree!!!!

 Love them!  Wear them all the time! Wear lots of them! Truly......the more the merrier :D

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Metal? or Glass? Who care so long as i get to use a torch!!!!

This past Saturday I took a quick refresher metals class.  I had taken one a few years back through the local park and recs offerings but didn't really keep up with it and, consequently, really needed to get back into the swing of things.  So, off to my local bead store where I played for a couple of hours and made these:

I just love these simple bands! Round wire, twisted wire copper and silver findings.  It was a blast.  And in the end I walked out with a finger adorned in ring-a-lischousness.  I think I'm addicted.  Not that this means that I'm giving up glass.....oh no.  Just means now I may have a new addiction.  I swear my studio is just not big enough. I think this means it's time to move just so I can have room to really get elbows deep in all these hobbies :D

Although....come January I may just be packing them all up for 28 months while I concentrate on getting through grad school.  Now can you see why I'm cramming as much as possible into the next 2 months?  Next Saturday I'm taking another class where I'll be making another type of ring.  Oh yeah...stay tuned for more silver goodness!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I just want to party all the time.......

Because it's just SO MUCH FUN!!!  They came. They ate. They laughed.  And in the end I wasn't left with a ginormous amount of leftovers so I consider the whole thing a great success.  I can't wait until the next gathering of the Hennies.  Thanks girls.....for making it such a great evening.  I loved eating and laughing with you all!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hen Partay.......take 4!!

It's the Hennies!

I don't know how it all got started.  I think Karen was bragging about how good her short ribs were and we decided that she had to prove it by throwing a dinner party where she would cook food for us.  No boys allowed - hence the hen reference.  I think Anna made it official with the glass hen which would then become the mascot for our informal dinner group.

I figured I'd volunteer for the next dinner get-together (it's the 4th one?). My thinking was cunning actually. I knew mom was going to be in town and since she can cook and I can't it would be the perfect time to have a party with food.  I'm also thinking that if I don't do it before January there's never going to be a dinner party at my house once school starts!

So the next Hen meet is tomorrow evening and I think I'm completely worn out running around trying to make sure I have all the stuff I need for this fest.  Today we still have shopping to do and food prep later on this afternoon. The house is still not done (stairs are incomplete due to Kev's recent bike incident) but who needs to go upstairs anyways??

I found out that I don't have enough chairs for everyone who's coming so will have to rectify that sometime today.  Eeeeek....the more I think about it the more there is to do!!

Well, wish me luck! Hopefully the food is good but I'd settle for lots of laughter and conversation. Worst case scenario........we order pizza!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flu shot....should you or shouldn't you?

I never used to get the flu shot.  Up until last year I had never gotten the flu shot.  That is.....until I worked with my first patient who had H1N1 who was deathly ill.  This was a young, previously healthy individual with no significant medical history who, all of a sudden, was struck down by this crazy flu strain.  It didn't take much to convince me to get the flu shot after that.  Last year it seemed like everywhere I looked someone was really, really sick after getting H1N1. Mind you, I do work in a critical care setting so it would be normal for me to see really sick people but the number of illnesses attributed to the flu were distinctly out of proportion compared to the norm.

So, this year, the minute flu shots were offered I got mine.  That was 4 days ago.  I am officially sick.  I guess it's a small price to pay to protect against possible greater illness but this really sucks. My sinuses are clogged. My eardrums feel like they're about to burst and I'm sure my patients will be thrilled that I'm coughing and hacking all over them at work tomorrow.

Nevermind that this week is the one week where I'm scheduled to work 5 days in a row and that my mother is arriving next Saturday and I have no energy to do anything other than veg in front of my computer and blog about how yucky I feel.

It's going to be a splendid week.  Yeah.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Best of intentions...

You know what they say about the best of I always intend to update this blog on a regular basis but it winds up never happening because I just have too much other stuff going on. Also, I don't have that much to say on a regular basis and I'm sure you have no desire to read about the goings-on in my daily, hum-drum life!

I did want to come on here today to just post a quick note about an incident that happened to TheDude earlier this week and some lessons that I've learned and would like to pass on as a consequence of the incident.

On Tuesday afternoon TheDude went for a bicycle ride. He does a loop that is about 10miles long and is mostly on a trail with very minimal road time and when he is on a road section he stays on the sidewalks. Long story very short....he wound up in the hospital with a pretty bad head injury - loss of consciousness, amnesia, and a multitude of scrapes and cuts - some of which required suturing.  Luckily he eventually regained consciousness and was able to tell them his name (which he did not know on arrival to the hospital!) and where he lived.  That is how the cops found their way to my front door.

Lesson 1: Always wear your helmet.  I hate to even think how much worse his injuries could have been had he not been wearing his helmet

Lesson 2: Always carry ID with you even if you're only stepping out for a minute. He did not have any ID on him and I don't know how they would have found me had he not remembered his address.

Lesson 3: If at all possible try to go out with a friend. Just about everything is safer when you've got someone with you.

Lesson 4: If you should ever see someone in need of assistance - no matter the circumstance - please do not simply turn a blind eye and drive on.  I am so thankful that the people who found Kev were not the type to just turn a blind eye so....C.S. and no-name bicycle guy..... I'm thanking you from the bottom of my heart!

A big shout out to the Apex EMS and the folks at DUMC who took care of my hubster. Even though he doesn't remember any of you or any of the events leading up to his hospitalization I know he is truly grateful for everything you did for him.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yes....I'm still here.....

Isn't it terrible of me to drop off the face of the earth for months at a time? I can't believe the last time I updated it was the beginning of July.

Once again I bring you numerous updates - one which is kinds me :)

Let's see.....

1.  I FREAKING GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL!  And not just any ol' grad school.  I'm going to DUKE!! And not for just any wishy-washy thing.....I'm going to be A NURSE ANESTHETIST!

So that's my big news :D :D :D

2. The Dude has finally made headway on the stairs (which have been in limbo for the last, oh, 6 years) and this weekend I hope to have the first 6 stairs - treads and risers - fully installed.  YAY!!

3. I got an iPhone 4.  Is that news anymore?  Maybe not but I have to say I love the thing. What can I say? I'm a gadget freak.  Yes. I have an iMac, iPhone, iPad, name it.  If the device is named i-something or other I've probably got one.  Yeah. I know.  I'm spoiled.  You can blame The Dude.

4. I've been working on lots of simple beads lately. Mainly because I've developed a totally unhealthy fascination with the variety of silver glass available for lampworkers and since I'm just slightly OCD I've determined that I must catalogue all the color combinations that I use so that I may duplicate them in the future.  Here are a few pics from the first test batches:

Fun stuff, eh?

I've been working like a fiend trying to build up the coffers before the insanity (school!) starts in January so I haven't had much time to be the social butterfly but I did get to see my favourite gals this past week.  Here they are:

Life is so sweet.  I almost don't even mind that I'm working 5 in a row next week.  Almost......

Hen party tonight with another bunch of lovely gals.

Hope you're having a great day wherever you are!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Random thoughts for the day.....

Well, first off....happy belated 4th of July to you all!  I hope you had a great weekend with lots of food, sun, and fireworks while surrounded by loved ones :)  I got to spend the weekend with DH (who shall be henceforth known as "the dude").  We didn't have anything big planned.  In fact, we try never to do anything around holidays as neither of us can handle the stress of crazy drivers and the overall frenzy that seems to surround any kind of holiday.

We lounged around the house. I actually got on a bike and went on several bike rides with the dude.  There are parts of me that hurt that I didn't even know existed!  For someone who only learned how to ride a bike in her late teens I think I did OK.  It's still an ugly sight but I'm getting there :)  We also grilled on the BBQ and made the yummiest fajitas.  I'll have to post our special concoction sometime soon.  You'll love it!!

I did get a small bit of torching in and my most favorite bead of all time was born this weekend.  I have it listed for sale but, seriously, would be more than happy if it didn't sell.  Hmmm, maybe I should deactivate the listing and just keep it for myself.  Is this one I'll regret selling?

The bead is big.  Focal sized. Definitely meant to be worn as a stand-alone on a simple chain or ribbon.  The bead caps are all handmade by yours truly.

Anyhow, other than taking it easy and enjoying time with the dude I'm also buzzing with some big news.  I can't share because I don't want to jinx it but you know sometimes you have such a big secret it's just dying to pop out?  I haven't told anyone other than the dude and a couple of select peeps.  All I can say is that it's going to be a stressful next couple of weeks.  I'm just on tenterhooks and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to stand it!!

Well, before I ramble anymore I'm signing off.  This is going to be a crazy work week so you definitely won't hear from me at least until the weekend.

Have a great one!!

Monday, June 14, 2010


That's kind of how I feel.  That might be how I've been feeling for a while but consciously I'm really feeling that way today.  I had the best of intentions for this day off:

1.  Finish online tests for school
2.  Torch

Well, I managed to accomplish #1 (yay!) and am officially done with all the testing for my summer course.  Phew!  One final assignment - which hopefully I'll pass the first time around - and then I'm done until classes start back up at the end of August.'d think that means I'll have plenty of time to "play" but not really.  Feeling guilty about not having worked much this year I've scheduled myself for lots and lots of work while I don't have any classes.  Maybe not such a good idea?

I sat down to torch.  When the 3rd bead exploded I figured it just wasn't meant to be and shut it down.  I wish I could be a more "on the fly" kind of beadmaker.  Just as much as I could never be a jazz musician because I totally lack the ability to improvise I also cannot come up with bead ideas on the fly.  It's a curse :)  I'm just not flexible enough to go with the flow.  I need some sort of plan....some idea of what I want to accomplish.  Give me Bach any day.

So, today I feel artistically stonewalled.  And maybe that's way I feel all antsy.  Like I'm not quite sure what to do next.....because I didn't get all the things on my list checked off. about OCD!!

OK...enough of are some pics of recent stuff just for fun.

Hope you're having a good day wherever you are!  It's 90 degrees out today (more with the humidex I'm sure!) and I'm staying indoors.  Maybe I'll even try to get back on the torch :)

Friday, April 30, 2010

What to do when you're stuck at home

after getting your wisdom teeth removed and you look like a chipmunk and can't go 2 seconds without slobbering all over yourself.....

Get out the PMC and get to work!  Since I'd recently emptied my stash of mini silver spacers it was time to get cracking at making some more.

I didn't count but I'm pretty sure there are at least 100 spacers there.  Hand cut, hand decorated, and the most time consuming - hand polished.

I keep wondering if there's an easier way to do this but I guess not.  It's the polishing after the liver of sulfur treatment that takes the most time.  I'm seriously considering whether to adjust pricing on these things to reflect the total handmade-ness of these beads.

Anyhow, at least it kept me busy today.  I wasn't fit for anything but being at home.  Tomorrow? I have big plans for melting some glass :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Trey Cornette teaches a mean class!

So I travelled all the way to PA last weekend with hubby in tow to take a beadmaking class from Trey Cornette.  The class was held at Noodlesaurus Glass Studio and I'm telling you.....if you can take a class from Trey or you can take a class at Noodlesaurus....DO IT!!!

Kris and John Schaible were awesome hosts and the 6-torch studio - just perfect for an instructor and 5 students - was an awesome place to take a class.  I loved the small group. We got so much individual attention and there was always room to look over Trey's shoulder while he demo'd.  I don't think it could have been any better.

I wanted to learn about twisted cane and scrollwork.  I learned so much more.  I don't know how many glass epiphanies I had but I came away with a greater understanding of how glass moves, learned a few of Trey's tricks and really got to pick his brain about all sorts of things, both glass and non-glass related.

Here's a hastily snapped pic of the beads we learned how to make.  Mind you, I wish I could take credit for the rockin' Sun Garden bead in the middle (long green bicone) but that was my prize in the demo bead drawing at the end of the class! 

Things I really enjoyed:
1. Meeting everyone!
2. Trey's generosity in sharing
3. How each student went home with a demo bead
4. The smaller studio setting really enhanced my learning experience

I really could go on and on....and on.  But I think you get the idea.  Anyhow, just wanted to share some beady goodness and say a huge thanks to Kris for hosting the class and to Trey for teaching the class.  I feel like I really came away with some excellent glass knowledge which I hope to incorporate into my art going forward :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fire on the Mountain

was such a blast!!  Pictures of final product to come at a later date.  I just have no time this week to even attempt to take and edit photos but I came away with a kick-ass Libby L. flower pendant and a Brad P. inspired vessel.  Those of you who know me know I don't do that kind of glass work.

Brad and Libby are FABULOUS teachers so if you ever get a chance to take one of their classes you definitely should! 

I had such fun rooming with the coolest group of gals and met a whole bunch of new beady friends.  These meetings are the best!'s back to reality.  I would like to simply make it through this week (keep chanting "one day at a time"). 

Big thanks to Marjorie, Gary, Brad, and Libby as well as all the other Fire on the Mountain peeps for putting on such a great show!!

See you again in the Fall! (I hope!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Exercise in frustration....

I've been holding off venting to the world but this morning I feel like this:

I feel like I may need to exercise some primal scream therapy or something.  For the most part I'm pretty level-headed.  Until something really irks me and then I have been known to say some not so nice things under my breath.

I have been taking a course at the local community college.  Believe's no institution of higher learning.  Still, I'm invested in this course, learning as much as possible, getting the best grade possible.  If I'm foiled in my quest because the person teaching the course is a butthead who has no idea how to teach and the reason I get a poor grade is not because I dropped the ball I'm going to be (I already am!) a seriously unhappy camper.

I find it highly inappropriate that we should be teaching ourselves the course material.  Not only that but when did you ever have essay questions as your whole science exam (won't say which science)?  I mean, 10 essay questions in 1 hour???  And then you tell me that the reason your taking points is not because the answer I gave wasn't right but because you didn't like how I answered the question?????



Sunday, February 21, 2010

Check out this site....

I recently discovered Barbara Lewis' website/blog through a fellow lampworker.  Once I checked out her stuff I fell in love and am determined to get an enamelling class under my belt (like I really need more hobbies, right??)

In any case, Barbara recently upgraded/updated her blog and I'm telling you, you should check it out.  Her blog is Painting With Fire Artwear

I'm hoping that I'm one of the lucky ones who gets their name pulled for one of the awesome giveaways she's doing!!

It's beautiful outside today.  Finally some sun and warmer temps.  We're off for Thai food and then a day of R&R.  Life is indeed good!

Hope you're having a good one wherever you are :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Taste test results

Surprisingly both Kev and I preferred the Rao's.  Not sure what happened as I was all ready to pick the Cento without even tasting but after cooking the Rao's is definitely more zippy and tomato tasting.  The Cento mellowed out and didn't have the acidity that I expected it to.  Not that it's bad.  For today the Rao's is the winner but, as I said before, I wouldn't hesitate to use either of these brands in the future :)

The tomato quest finale!

I think today will be the last of the tests and comparisons.  Today we're pitting Cento D.O.P against the Rao's. On initial opening both appear very similar. Both are packed in puree and a nice, rich red. To the nose the Cento is a little more "bright" - so says Kev and I have to agree.  It smells maybe a little more acidic, not quite as deep as the Rao's.

So off into two pots with an onion and the requisite butter.  The simmering is almost done.  Quick observations - the Cento appears to be less watery during cooking.  The overall color of both sauces is remarkably similar.  We'll have to do the taste test shortly to see which brand we'll wind up sticking with.  Either way I think either of these brands will do and will depend on what's on sale at the local grocers.  Today Rao's was on sale at our local Fresh Market at $3.49/can so I stocked up.

Check back for the official taste-test results :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Tomato Quest....part deux

The latest in my quest to consume the most amount of tomato sauce that one human can possible consume in a week :D

Nah...not really...but I am on a quest to find out if it's the San Marzano tomatoes that really make the sauce.

On a crazy shopping expedition one night not too long ago Kev and I drove around to just about every grocery store we could think of and bought pretty much every brand of canned San Marzano tomatoes.  So far the conclusion is that Cento D.O.P is the way to go.

Now comes this particular brand.  Rao's.  I think we found this one at either Whole Foods or Fresh Market (wish I woulda kept closer track). In any case, on opening I was happily surprised to find nice, dark red, tomatoes in puree.  I think part of what also makes the sauce so great is if it already comes in puree. Others may just be canned in juice so won't be as rich or thick after cooking.  Anyhow...I'm happy to report that after an hour of simmering with the requisite onion and butter this particular sauce tastes just as yummy as the Cento.  The true test would have been if I'd cooked them side by side but I've got to stop producing so much tomato sauce :D

I would definitely use either this brand of the Cento in a heartbeat.  The house smells yummy and I'm geared up for some simple pasta tonight!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The tomato quest continues!

Now that I'm totally addicted to this simple tomato sauce I've been trying to figure out if any old canned tomatoes will do. In my previous attempt it was painfully obvious that the generic stuff at my grocery store would not do. After some research it appeared that maybe I had to limit my testing to San Marzano tomatoes. The original receipe called for these tomatoes and that's what I used the first time around.

So, off to the grocery store I went. Seems that there are San Marzano tomatoes that are imported directly from Italy (look for the D.O.P stamp) and then there are San Marzano varieties that are grown domestically. In my second attempt I tried the USA San Marzanos. Close in color but no where close in flavour. now I'm thinking I need to do a relatively scientific comparison. Off to the grocery store I go again (actually I think I scoped out 3 stores) and come home with the original Cento D.O.P and a couple of other brands that are all imported from Italy.

Today's experiment pits Cento D.O.P against Zia Rosa, also D.O.P

On initial inspection the color looks to be about the same. The consistency of the Cento looks thicker. The Cento smells fuller and maybe a little sweeter. I think the Zia Rosa may smell a little more acidic.

The true test will be at the end when we do the taste test :)

Both cans go into separate pots where one onion and 5Tbsps of butter go in and the simmering begins. An hour later the tomatoes have been broken down and the sauce is ready to go. The taste test says Cento is still the way to go. It's sweeter, slightly thicker, and more tomato-ey. The Zia Rosa isn't far off but is less full flavour-wise and isn't as rich bodied. I think it's just a little watery compared to the Cento.

Nevertheless it's all still good and now I have two batches of sauce that will tie me over until...oh, maybe Monday?? I still have two other cans of tomatoes that will undergo the same testing. It'll be interesting to see if anything measures up to the Cento.

While the sauce was on the stove I was busy knitting up some cotton dishcloths. Will show a picture of those when they're done :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All tomatoes are not created equal....

This I found out when I substituted a fairly common brand of whole peeled tomatoes in a recipe that recommended San Marzano tomatoes. But different can a can of tomatoes be? The color, the sweetness, the ripeness was all "off" in the cheapo brand. I went to the grocery store today to buy another can of the "right" stuff and I couldn't believe my eyes. The freakin' can was $6.99!! Now I know I didn't pay that price the first time. Or at least I don't think I did?!? I just know I was looking for San Marzano tomatoes and picked up the first can I saw. Maybe I did wind up paying the premium but now that I've tasted the difference I think it's worth it.

Here's some interesting info about San Marzano tomatoes.

Now go out, buy yourself some San Marzano tomatoes (I bought Cento) and make yourself this totally yummalishious sauce. I guarantee you'll fall in love!!

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions
Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking

Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)*
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

It's 10pm. Do you think it's too late for a bowl of pasta??

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The perfect cereal?

I've been meaning to talk about my current, all-time favorite cereal for a while now. I know, I know. It's such a personal thing and what I like may not be what you like. However, I thought I'd throw this out there for all of you who may have seen this particular item in the cereal aisle of your grocery store and thought about it but never bought it.

Yes. I could eat this cereal day and night. Why? It's just everything I want in a bowl of cereal-y goodness. First, and most importantly, the flakes stay crunchy forever! You could leave the bowl sitting while sitting down to update your blog and when you came back your cereal would still be crunchy good!

It's sweet but not too sweet. Just the right touch to prevent it from being bland. Oh...and the strawberries and raspberries. Swoon. Yes...tons and tons of fruit. So sweet and plentiful. This cereal does not skimp on any of the good stuff and that is why every time I go to the grocery store you'll find me walking out with a box. It's panic time in the house if there isn't a box sitting in the cupboard.

Yes. Don't wait. Go buy a box and see for yourself. You won't regret it. I promise! And no. I have no affiliation with the company. Just an avid eater of this particular cereal :)

Hope you're having a better day where you are. It's cold, slushy, and rainy in this neck of the woods. How un-North Carolina.