Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hands Everywhere!

Okay, I hate my camera - one of the many reasons that I suck at taking pictures when people visit is I don't like my terrible, cheapo, camera. So - only two pics of the recent Hand Fam reunion. The one below is of all of us Hands plus Nikki and Jason. We had tons of fun. Lots of walks, games, laughing together. It's so nice when we can all get together in one place.

Maybe, I'm not going to make any promises, but just maybe I'll be taking better and more pics in the future because we found an amazing camera on a hike - along with a cool backpack. There was no way of identifying who the backpack belonged to and it looked as if it had been there for days, so I guess Christmas comes early this year! So, my blog may be improving.

This is my fave pic from the Hand trip - look at the monkey boys!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Good Times!

Where has the time gone? I have had great visits from family (Grandparents, Parents, Cousin and Brother) over the last month or so and I haven't written a word on my blog. I like to think I was so busy having a great time with everyone that I didn't have time to write, but I think it's probably more due to laziness and forgetfulness!

So - Papa and Susan came for a visit first. We had such a great time showing them Asheville. I think they were impressed by how much a 'real town' (as Papa likes to say) Asheville is. Papa and Susan are practically professional 'people watchers' and Asheville gave them a good show. I know the drive was rough on them, but I hope they saw enough to make them want to come back. It was amazing showing them our new home and their visit just confirmed what I've always believed - I have the coolest grandparents in the world.

Much to my shame, I have zero pics of my parents' visit. The reason I have pics of my grandparents' time here is that I was determined to get a few pics of Susan, so I was careful to bring the camera to all excursions - with Mom and Dad I didn't think to bring the camera. I've requested Mom send me some of her pics, so if I get those I will post them here. We had a great time going on beautiful walks and seeing the sights in Asheville. I think what the 'rents enjoyed the most was sitting out on our deck after the sun went down - the cooler weather was a nice break for them. I recently went to the Grove Park Inn and I want to bring them there the next time they come for a visit.

Tom at least remembered to take some pics when Nick and Charli (cousin from England) visited. Below you'll see Nick swimming with Beau - Beau was trying to balance on the log which Nick found hilarious. It was very cool having Charli with us for a few days - although a little weird at first. We rarely see Charli because he lives in England so I had an image in my head of a 'little boy', but Charli has grown up (and up and up - He towers over me - like the rest of the men in his family - and he is making plans for college). He's super smart and I think the toughest time he has ahead of him is deciding what he wants to do with his life. He's one of those lucky people who seem to be good at everything so choosing one thing may prove to be a challenge. He has both the Hand charm and walk (it was spooky walking behind Tom, Nick and Charli - they walk exactly alike). We went white water rafting. There's no point in trying to describe how much fun we had rafting. It's one of those things where you just had to be there. Charli found the goofy hat he's wearing in the pic below on one of our hikes.Charli also turned a bowl in Tom's workshop while he was here. He only had a few hours, but the result was very cool and as you can see he was proud of it.

It was so great having everyone visit! Come back soon - Love you!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Tom here...

I have finally learned how to post stuff on this thing so here are some pics for your viewing pleasure. These are a sample of the bowls that I have been making since our move to greener pastures.

This one I turned from a log that I found in the Pisgah National Forest, so it's a true "tree to table" bowl. It is what is called a "natural edged bowl" because the bark is left on the edges. I gave it to our new neighbors David and Krista - they are really nice folks...

This was a fun little experiment that turned out pretty well. It's from a block of coconut palm. The grain looks like leopard fur. There is a great specialist hardware store in Asheville that sells a bunch of different and exotic wood. This is one of them.

Same bowl. I like the effect of this design. It looks like the bowl is almost passing through or emerging from a solid piece of wood.

This was a present for Papa and Susan. It is a piece of maple burl that I got from a guy in my woodturning group.

The grain is really striking and I especially like where the knot has fallen out and left that nice big hole you can see at the back. The rough front edge is kinda tricky to turn properly. You have to be very gentle with it.
Hey, if you don't like it, go and buy a cheap plastic one from Wal-Mart. Anyway, that is what I have been doing with a good chunk of my time. Brandi has done a good job updating folks on everything so I won't bother repeating it all.
In summary though, I'm great, Brandi's great, dogs and cats are great, weather's great, house is great, mountains are great, life is great. Out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our New Home

Our new home - 3 bedrooms 2 baths, one workshop (basement), 2 car garage. The land, which you can't see in this picture, needs a lot of work because it's overgrown with vines and stuff. Tom is doing the grunt work clearing it (and loving it - can you say chainsaw AND fire?) and I can't wait to plant beautiful trees, flowers and bushes - we are planning a small paradise...
View of the house as you walk up from the river. We LOVE our two decks so much on the house that Tom had to build another one by the river! See below.
This is the view to the right when standing on the deck by the river. Bee-u-ti-ful. I haven't yet made friends with the horses next door - there is a foal and the mother is still a bit nervous every time I approach. The deck that Tom built - we've named it Jackson Square after one of my fave places in New Orleans. The deck is my favorite place to sit b/c it overlooks the river and it's so peaceful. We often see deer. The dogs swim and I read or just chill - for me, this bliss. Didn't Tom do an amazing job? I'm so proud. View from the river looking up toward the house - Tom has been clearing the land b/c it is overgrown with wild roses - sounds pretty, but it just means that the thorny vines have taken over everything - they practically smothered 3 Dogwood trees which we were thrilled to find! So that's why some of the land is charred - Tom likes doing 'controlled burns'. I've already planted a rose garden (not pictured) by the deck.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Orleans Mon Amour

So, the good news, no, the great news is that I was offered the job at the Asheville Museum of Art. I accepted the job today, and beginning Monday I will be fundraising to expand the Museum. I was giddy all the way to the Museum (I felt that they were going to offer me the job, but I wasn't sure) and I felt elated when the director said she wanted me to join her team.

So what's the bad news, right?

I felt down for the remainder of the day. I attributed my blues to the feeling you get after a big event you've been looking forward to has come and gone. But later I realized it was something else.

I still have a few odds and ends to unpack and put away and tonight I decided to tackle a few boxes since Tom was playing poker with the boys and I had nothing else to do. After an hour or so I came across a poster tube. I was curious to see what was in it so I opened it and found a Jazz Fest poster from 1982 and a French Quarter scene called 'Desire of Yesterday' both given to me by my grandmother Susan.

And it hit me HARD. I have a job now. Tom and I have bought a house. This is permanent. We are no longer citizens of New Orleans. And I sat down and cried.

I have long had a love affair with the city of New Orleans. Long before I ever developed crushes on boys, I had a deep infatuation with New Orleans. Before the storm Tom would drive me around the city and I would sigh as I looked at the grand Live Oaks draping themselves over Esplanade and say, "I love New Orleans." Tom would grin at me and I appreciated that he wasn't jealous of his rival. Oh, my lost lovely city.

We chose to leave and I wouldn't change it. We're happy here and I feel safe. There have been too many signs that for us, leaving was the right thing to do. But it does feel as if I have broken up with someone very special. Someone with whom I have had a lifelong love affair - and it hurts. And, quite frankly, it pisses me off. Why couldn't have things been different after Katrina? Why did politics and the Ole Boys Club have to continue 'business as usual'? Why am I getting phone calls that two of my friends, still toughing it out in the Big Easy, have had their houses broken into in the past week? Why did so many people have to die? Why haven't the levees been repaired?

I could go on and on, but it basically comes down to this - I wish it could've been different, I regret the circumstances that pushed Tom and me to leave, I miss the city of my childhood and early 20's, but I don't miss life in New Orleans post-Katrina.

So I will have to fall in love with Asheville. She's a very beguiling city - currently showing off by adorning herself in dogwood and cherry blossom blooms - and I often see a flash of New Orleans in her people; music is big here as are dreadlocks and tattoos. Papa, Jason and I used to spend hours people-watching in the Quarter. I have to remember that the soul of a city is its people and the people here are wonderful. Like New Orleans, Asheville is made up of so many different kinds of people.

But New Orleans will always be my first love - and you never forget your first love.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beauty Pics

Here are some more of my favorite pictures. Check out Sarah's David Brent impression!

Good Times!

Sarah and Roger visited us for 2 weeks and we had a fab-u-lous time. Roger has an unbelieveable camera and he takes the most beautiful/hilarious pictures.

While on a walk I suddenly felt the urge to click my heels - and Roger captured it on film. This lead to Tom, Sarah and me to clicking our heels in unision and the following pictures...