Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Carolina on my mind

On Friday, August 31, my son's twenty-fifth birthday, I flew into RDU.  As soon as we hit the ground and I turned on my phone, it was ringing.  It was my son. 
"Where are you?" he asked.
"Sitting on the plane." I answered.
"I've never been in this kind of a situation, before, but someone fell ill during the flight and we are all sitting on the plane waiting for the paramedics to attend to them."
"Well, when you walk out, I'll be sitting here, waiting."
Initially, I thought he meant sitting, waiting- in his car.
I said "you mean you are in your car?"
"No, he answered, I'm in the airport."
I started walking out of the airport and stopped to make certain I was headed in the  right direction.
I was. 
And, there he was.  He rose to great me and had a Starbucks coffee in each hand. 
We headed out to his car.  It was his new car.  He bought it new, but I had never seen it. 
We pulled into his complex and he asked me to guess which apartment was his- I said
"the one with the Obama poster?"
That's a good boy.

He said: "That's right. Another family for Obama- a family of two, me and my cat."
My son and his cat.
Then we headed out for a birthday lunch. 

My son and his car.
I told him I would take him where ever he wanted for a birthday lunch.  He chose Sushi Blues Cafe.
My son in his Indiana University shirt- yes, we were approached by a woman who asked
"are you from Indiana?"  She was, too.
We ate all we wanted and did not eat it all.  It was delicious.  I will go back.  I will go back!

When we returned to my son's apartment, he had to run out to his car for something.
This is his cat-waiting for him to return.
We got cleaned up and departed for Durham, where I spent the remainder of the weekend.  We went to my son's girlfriend's parent's house for dinner.
Sweetie Pies
My son and his girlfriend made us some kick-ass salmon- recipe found here:

Oh, yeah.  That's good!
It was delicious.  I want to make it, too!
We had some yummy Prosecco and toasted the birthday boy.
I've "known" my son's girlfriend's parents for some time, now.  We have emailed.  We are facebook friends.  I asked her Dad's advice when I bought my new bicycle.  Her mother and I have emailed a lot.  We have a lot in common.  My son told us we are "two peas in a pod."  She and I both have undergrads in English.  We both love the color red and jewelry and fiercely love our children.  I sent her a Christmas card with a line from Edna St. Vincent Millay's God's World and she loved it.  I love it, too.  As she put it in a facebook post- we both wore the Exact Same Dress to our high school prom.  I was looking at her facebook photos and saw her wearing it to a "Marry Durham" event.  It was a San Francisco Gunny Sack dress.  What are the chances of that? 
She cared for my son when he had his wisdom teeth removed.
She and her husband have taken my son into their family, for which I am extremely grateful.
Two peas.
I stayed with my friend from Durham- my friend that my daughter is named for.  My friend that claims me and my children as family.  My friend who planned the Paris trip with my daughter and then had the porch-swing-ankle-crushing -accident which prevented her from going to Paris with us.
On Saturday (9/1), we headed out to the Durham Farmer's Market sporting our matching shirts that I bought for  us at the Monoprix in Paris.  En Francais:  Monoprix
BFFs since age 17. I love this woman.
People were asking us "did you plan to wear the same shirt?"  Well, yes, we did.  I kept telling people "we are 53 and don't care." 
There is such freedom in getting "older."
Food trucks are big in North Carolina.  Food trucks are few and far between, here in Indiana.  This is a college town and we have two.  'Count em, two. 
In the Triangle, they seem to be much more en vogue.  There were several at the market and on Sunday we attended a "food truck rodeo."  (I didn't have my camera with me so I don't have photos.)
My son's girlfriend's brother, my son, my son's girlfriend.
(Son's girlfriend sporting the IU shorts I took to her.)

Me and my son, my son, my son at the market.
At the market we happened upon a woman who was doing Henna tattoos for $5.  I had always wanted to do this.  My friend's daughter wanted to do this- so she and I took the plunge.
Iz gets henna.
(Wearing IU t-shirt I took to her.)
The woman put the henna on from a squeeze tube.  Then she asked your favorite colors and "set" the henna with glitter, much the same way as a woman might "set" her make-up with powder.
I've been volunteering with our local world music festival called "Lotus," and I had a Lotus blossom put on the side of my leg.  She asked me if I wanted an "om" I didn't know the meaning of the word.  The henna woman told me it meant "the hum of the universe."

While in the Triangle I tried some beers.
Duck Rabbit Milk Stout.
I drank it at  Flying Saucer in Raleigh with my son and Broad Street Cafe in Durham with my friend.
at Broad Street Cafe, Durham NC
Saturday night brought another birthday celebration at my son's girlfriend's parent's house.  Her grandmother was turning eighty.  Her aunt's birthday was celebrated as well.  I met her grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousins.  When we sat to eat dinner, I sat next to my son.  Two tables were set.  One cousin pulled in an extra chair.  At the other table, an extra chair sat empty.  It took me a few minutes to come to the realization that I sat at the "kid's table."  It was o.k.  I just wanted to sit with my son. 
Afterward, my son and I walked to a local establishment for a beer (another Milk Stout for me) and then we were joined by my son's girlfriend and her brother.
On Sunday morning my son's girlfriend's family picked me up and we all went to my son's girlfriend's mother's church- a Catholic ceremony.  My first.  It was interesting.  Afterward, we headed back to their house for a lunch of delicious left-overs from the night before.  And then a dice game.
Then we departed for hiking.  
Trippin it in Dad's Van
It was cool and nice that we could all fit into my son's girlfriend's dad's van.
Mountain edumacation
My son's girlfriend's brother is a PhD candidate in Ecology at U of T.  I knew I would love him.  My son had already spoken highly of him.  I have a minor in Natural Resources.  While we were en route to hike, he read facts concerning topography to us.  I loved it.
We were on our way to hike the Occoneechee Mountain loop.  It is a short, yet challenging hike- in places.  Near the Eno River, which I had hiked in previous years with my friend.
While on the hike my son's girlfriend's brother and I had fun naming plants and trees.

My son and his girlfriend on the mountain.

If you push the limits, it is dangerous.  My son of course, had to get too close to the overlook, causing my stomach to do flip-flops.
Here is a photo of the "rents."
Me, my son's girlfriend's mama and daddy.
They are both sporting Bloomington t-shirts. 
 Hers is a tree town shirt and his is a local bicycle trail which Doug and I ride.
On Sunday night my friend and I went to eat at El Rodeo in Brightleaf Square.  It was windy and cooling down.  At one point my cell phone starting making a strange noise.  It was a weather alert.  We were under a tornado watch.  We quickly finished eating and high-tailed it home. 
I was wiped out from hiking and game playing and eating and all and headed to bed.

On Monday, my friend and I tried to do some of the local shops.  Much to our dismay, a few were closed.  My favorite "we're closed" sign:
North Carolina, known for tobacco.
Some of my favorite architecture
My last night in North Carolina we all went to Pop's.  It was pouring the rain but we were determined to spend a last evening all together.
My friend gave my son a t-shirt for his birthday. 
Durham It's not for everyone.
Me and my son, my son, my son.
I had a wonderful time.  I've been going to the Triangle since the late eighties.  I love it.  It was so good to see my friend and spend time with her.  I had not seen my son and his girlfriend since last November.  Too much time had passed. 
It was wonderful to meet and become real friends with my son's girlfriend's parents.
The Durham Farmer's Market is very similar to our local market here in Bloomington, IN. 
I ate, I drank.  I ate some more.  It seemed every time I turned around someone was offering me water, tea, wine, champagne, coffee.  My son said "you are in the south, this is what we do." 
I gained three pounds. 
I like the south.  I love southern accents.
I come home with a southern accent, punctuating my sentences with "darlin." 

"Y'all come back now, y'hear?"
I will.

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