Friday, June 28, 2013

Big Beach Day in Corolla, Outer Banks

Perhaps it was the third afternoon of our stay that saw the most consistent beach times for all the different branches of the family. I know I was there for a bit of time and managed to take a good number of photos of many of the kids and some of the adults. Though upon reviewing photos of the whole week I'd say that I was not properly diligent in capturing any proof of J., Cuz K., Aunt L., Uncle E., myself, or G. and A. from the kid crew. Alas. In any case, on this particular day the waves weren't too overwhelming to look at and were generally okay once you were in....but there was a definite pull of rip going on. At one point I made my way via boogie board to the sand bar where I saw many others catching slightly bigger waves. It wasn't altogether easy to get ou there, and after catching a few good waves and then one that smashed me to the sandy floor, I decided it was time to go back to shore. This proved to be slightly more complicated than I expected and put a kibosh on my own interest in going that far out again. Dad stayed closer to shore, though he said he also had not an altogether easy time when it came to extricating himself from the sea.
But for a while they were friends.
Baby R. is considered one of the most fearless of her four siblings.
She gets things done.
I'd say her older sister I. isn't without her fearlessness.
And the older girls really were immersed in water for the majority of this day.
Facing the great unknown.

R. and I. at perhaps cross purposes. And to think, a little over a year ago they looked more like this.
Q. and K. taking advantage of high tide. We were at the beach long enough that we had to move our stuff two times to avoid getting wetter than we intended.

Action shot. A.'s son W. was perhaps the most adept at this whole wakeboarding thing...but I never got a really good one of him in action.
Happy, sandy kid.
M. gave it a good college try.
I kind of made K. wave to me.
W. with his wakeboard.
Father and son, facing the world too.

The kids seemed entirely indifferent to the sand that eventually seemed to cover them head to toe. I guess that's good or else they wouldn't have been quite as happy about climbing up this slight dune/hill and just rolling around in sand for 20 minutes.

And that wraps up the biggest beach day and pretty much the majority of photographic proof we were even at the beach.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dinners In The Outer Banks

Months and months ago a plan was created between a cabal of individuals. This plan involved much planning, consideration, exchange of money and hours in a car. The end result was a week in a beach house in Corolla Beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The cabal of folks responsible for this turn of events included my cousin K. and a number of other family members. I drove down from Philly on Sunday. It's really not a bad drive and I go down through Delaware, which is such a strange state in a way. Or at least along the portions of Route 1 and 13 that I've experienced. Delaware may be slightly underrated. There is a lot of nice country out there, and the beach is never too far away. In any case, I made good time on my drive and arrived in North Carolina in the late afternoon. I got in the pool for a bit and then it was time for dinner. On this particular night my cousins K. and M. and my cuz K.'s fiancee A. wrangled some less-than-optimal camp-style grills into cooking a bunch of chicken and tilapia. It was not an easy undertaking in terms of the quantity of meat to be grilled and the quality of the grills in question, but they persevered and the results were delicious. Add roasted broccoli, cornbread and a bit of collard greens and you've got yourself a meal. Or, rather, I had myself a meal.
The next day I think I was totally lame (in some people's opinion) and didn't go to the beach for much of the day. Instead I took up residence in one of the beach house's porches. Specifically in the hammock on the second floor porch, which had a view towards the sea (though we were about three house rows back from the ocean itself). And then, when I did go to the beach late in the afternoon I was too busy lying down and going in the water and reading to bother taking out my camera and recording any photographs. But the day ended with grilled barbeque pork chops (this time on the newly arrived gas grill) along with salad and roasted potatoes.
The croutons are the buttered French rounds I enjoyed in the country.
Oh and there were peppers in the tomatoes as well.
And then another afternoon Dad and I went to a fish market to inquire about soft shell crabs (none fresh) and ended up buying a pound of shrimp, most of which I consumed for lunch.
Then there was quality time around the pool with many a balloon made and exploded.
I brought some of the coconut rum I brought back with me from the Bahamas and we made all the children their first alcoholic beverage! Just joking! The kids got virgin pina coladas while those of us over 21 had the real deal. Sweet but tasty in moderation.
And then another day featured grilled asparagus. Cuz K. and A. held down that grill.
And while they were grilling and my aunt L. and cousin M. and so many others were preparing the rest of the meal, K. and I went to the turret/bird's nest of the house at his insistence, which I was happy to do both just to enjoy the view and also to make sure he didn't fall over a railing. It was way high up. While we were 20 people consisting of 8 kids and 12 adults but a house next to us and another just across the street seemed to be totally comprised of tan college kids, some of whom jumped off a similar height into a pool. Apparently no one died but those kids did seem to be forced to leave much sooner than they wanted to...for hours they were sitting on the bumpers a wide variety of cars with their bags backed, waiting for rides away from the beach. Let that be a lesson to everyone: you jump from a deathly height into a pool, you will be kicked out of the beach house.
That's a ways down. I think the dudes across the way didn't jump from quite this high.

Inside two sisters took over Cuz K.

And then we ate grilled asparagus and tacos...or in my case a burrito.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Barbeque Times With Dogs

C. and R. usually have a barbeque each year. If I recall correctly, they didn't have one last year because they were slightly preoccupied with getting married.But with almost one full year of marriage under their belts, a barbeque was back in the cards. I arrived on the earlier side and was lucky enough to get one of the first burgers off the grill, along with some bacon broccoli salad and something creamy I didn't really understand. Also there was a dog other than Brutus at the barbeque and he was definitely hoping for some of my food. He was thwarted at the last possible second.
C. made her delicious, but dangerous, sangria. I partook of none of it because it is like a siren's call to a sailor. You know it might destroy you once you've heard it, but my oh my you don't care.
Brutus was looking a little like a chubby Yoda while others played a beer cup game. Again I showed remarkable restraint and sat out from the game...this was in large part because I had quite a drive the next day, but hey...points for restraint and responsibility!
LW, M. and me.
Not sure what this was about but somehow I like it anyways.
Party times:)
I also had a hot dog, which hit just the right hungry spot.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dart Banquet

So I am the captain of a dart team. We're a motley crew but we get along pretty well and our overall roster is pretty strong. In the fall season we got very close to finishing well within our division, but we kind of screwed the pooch in our playoff game. During the spring season we fared a bit better, winning our regular season but not clinching the playoffs yet again. But two of us (not me in either case) did have the highest in- and out- shots for a respective season. Here is T. with his in-shot trophy. And I think actually maybe it's three teammates...just that N. wasn't there to collect his prize so I kind of forgot about it momentarily.
And here is a portion of the team with the plate we won, which is a really heavy son of a gun. I'm going to bring it to our home bar at some point soon and they will hang it on the wall and we will be famous for eternity. We also won shirts with our names on it because of finishing first in the regular season. Shirts and plates! Plates and shirts!
Here is my roommate, A., with his trophy in hand.
On this particular Sunday afternoon the league threw a banquet so everyone could collect their prizes and eat and drink and play darts. I did two out of those three things. For the dart playing it was an "LOD," which stands for luck of the draw. Basically you throw in some dollars and then you're paired randomly with a partner. My partner and I got through the first round but didn't fare quite as well in the second, but it could have been worse.

Chicken Thighs and Country Times

I haven't been able to go out to the country as much in the last few months. Between the Preakness, my reunion and work stuff, it just hasn't been feasible time-wise. But I did manage to get out there in early June and, unsurprisingly, had a lovely few days mainly reading, walking and cooking. The one dish I enjoyed fooling around with were breaded chicken thighs with a tomato garlic kind of topping/sauce, with some bacon grease thrown in for good measure. I think one of the things I did right with this dish was seasoning the flour enough that the breaded coating actually had some flavor of its own to go along with the tomatoes.

It was all very green and lush. It rained for a good portion of my time there, but other than the mud, it just made the walks nicer.
I believe this is a Camembert of some kind with toasted baguette rounds.