Winter Holiday at the Beach

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Spending my winter break in SC was a great idea.  I finally felt that I could relax and be myself.  Which sounds odd, because I should be able to be myself always.  Maybe I mean that I was able to unwind and became less frustrated with life, carefree.  The picture above is the north side of Pawleys Island, SC, and the picture below is Murrells Inlet, SC.  I had to pull my shorts out of the summer clothes drawer while I was there!

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The week away was a truly beautiful time.  My mom and aunt came to help me cook our family holiday treats.  I am not a sweets person, but I really enjoy baking and making candy.  I think it is kindof like how I like to clean; they both relax me.

Mom, Aunt Thelma, and I set shop up in my kitchen.  We ended up making my grandmother’s applesauce pies, my aunt’s pecan pies, Aunt Meta’s candy, haystacks, peanut butter cups, and peanut butter coconut balls.  My aunt is teaching me how to make my grandmother’s (their mom’s) applesauce pies.  Of course, they laughed when I showed the pie crusts I got for them.  Apparently, I should have gotten the frozen ones, not the graham cracker ones.

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Applesauce pies are delicious.  You can see them in the oven cooking, and my haystacks took up all the counter space.  I tend to unintentionally make the haystacks bigger as I go along.

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My aunt’s pecan pies cooking away.  Her secret ingredient is white vinegar, which takes some of the sweetness away.

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My Aunt Meta’s candy is pictured above on the right side of the plate.  This was my favorite candy growing up.  It is chocolate covered white fluff with pecans in it.  Fluff being sugar, butter, eagle brand milk, vanilla, more sugar, and something else (probably more sugar).  I guess Aunt Meta is technically my great aunt since she was married to my grandfather’s brother.

For Christmas Eve dinner, I took my Mom to a restaurant at the Inlet for the sunset view.  This was the view from our table.

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My friend’s son loves the Incredible Hulk, so I found him the cutest Hulk bow tie and Hulk shirt on Etsy.

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Here is is showing me how the Hulk gets mad.  Love the action shot!

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Mom hates having her picture taken, and asked why I have to take one every time she opens a gift.  I try to get her gifts that I know she will never buy for herself, as well as practical stuff.  She is opening a gift that is her father’s signature (his last name) made into a gold charm for her charm bracelet.  He died when she was in college, and she misses him the same now as when she was a young girl.  One year I ordered his Marine Corps records and put them in a book for her.  I took his signature from one of the documents for the charm.  I ended up ordering myself one in silver.

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Christmas day was spent with my aunt and part of her crew.  Her daughter lives in Hawaii, so she wasn’t there.  Mom spent the entire time with the youngest in the family, which wasn’t surprising.  My aunt’s son was in town, so I was able to see him and his wife.  They just moved to my hometown for his work, and I am not sure how much she enjoys it yet.  I asked how she liked it, and her comment was how diverse it was in relation to her her hometown.  Yes, we have a bit of everything there!

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After spending so much time with the family, I needed some time away.  Love them, but in small doses.  My retreat ended up being a walk on Pawleys Island, and spending time with my friends.  The holiday break was the best in quite a while.

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Thanksgiving

I was finally able to go down to the beach this past Thanksgiving weekend, and it was very difficult to come back.  For Thanksgiving this year I made reservations for a traditional meal for my mom and myself at a restaurant.  She lives about an hour from the beach where I used to live, so I picked her up on the way down.  First thing I had to do when driving into North Carolina was to pick up a Cheerwine in a glass bottle.  It’s the good stuff!

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The dinner we ate was very good, and we had enough leftovers that we ate on for two days.  My aunt came down Thanksgiving night and stayed the weekend with us.  Per southern tradition, I drove the ladies to Belk to shop for Black Friday.

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After shopping, they wanted to relax and find NCIS on TV.  I met up with my friend, Dave, and headed to the beach.  It was perfect weather, and the entire time I’m questioning why I am still in WV.  The beach has always calmed me, and I am seriously planning on moving back.  These photos are from Pawley’s Island.

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Even though I grew up in the mountains, I am a beach girl at heart.  I convinced mom to have our Christmas at the beach house, just so I can go back sooner.

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Dave and I have been friends for ten years now.  It took a minute to figure it out, and I didn’t realize it had been so long.  It was really nice to see him over the weekend.  Later that night I took mom and my aunt to watch him play, and they really enjoyed it.  They wouldn’t go on their own to watch musicians play, but since they had such a good time that may change.  The venue had rocking chairs outside, and they sat out there to listen.  My aunt asked me if he knew the theme song for NCIS.  He probably does just from his mom watching marathons of it all the time.   She was serious when she asked me.  Two of her dogs are named after Ziva and Abby.

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I originally planned to leave SC on Saturday so I could have one day to relax before work on Monday.  I pack up mom and my aunt in her car for their trip an hour north.  I made lunch plans with Dave and Jacqui, so I packed everything up in my car and turned off stuff in the house before I left.  I fully expected to start my roadtrip back north after lunch.

Getting two best friends together who haven’t seen each other in a long time created a long lunch!  We all met at Murrells Inlet, and I finally made the decision that I was not going to be leaving SC that day.  Why would I leave if it wasn’t really necessary?

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I promise that Jacqui’s son was excited to see me!

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Murrells Inlet on Saturday.

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Dave took this picture at the Inlet.  It really turned out beautiful.  I really need to get a new phone.  His pictures turned out so much better than mine.

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It was wonderful catching up with my friends and having an afternoon/evening on the Inlet.  Later that night, Dave and I went to see another friend play with his band.  Getting up that next morning was rough though.  The last thing I wanted to do was drive 8 plus hours north in rain and holiday traffic.  Thankfully, I have satellite radio and I jam out (horribly) to the 90’s channel.  The 90’s were great!  One of my first songs, awesome!

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Yes, I get looks while I drive during my concert.  I sing all out, and I know it looks hilarious.  How else am I supposed to stay awake and alert for that long?  Sometimes I laugh at myself while I drive, because I know it is humorous.  Really I laugh at myself all the time, not only when driving.

I’m excited for Christmas now, since I will be heading back to the beach!

PittStop Lindyhop

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This weekend was the PittStop lindyhop in Pittsburgh, and I was extremely excited to attend with the WVU Swing Club!  wpid-imag4356.jpg

This is my first lindy exchange, and I have really been looking forward to it. When I got to the venue, it was definitely overwhelming and a bit intimidating. Everyone was such good dancers.  It took me a good 45 minutes to jump into the fun, but that is due to my own social awkwardness.   This was Friday night’s dance at the venue.

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The venue was impressive.  Friday night was The Boilermaker Jazz Band at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall.  I will probably visit the museum at the Memorial Hall on another date.  What I could see during the dance looked pretty cool.  This is the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall below.

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At 1 am it was Miss Freddye’s Blues Band at the Pittsburgh Opera.  That dance lasted until 5 am, but I left early to get some sleep.  Saturday afternoon was a casual dance back at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall.  This older gentleman was trying to teach me his Charleston moves.  I wanted to ask how old he was, because he looked as if he would have been in his 80’s!  I hope I am be-bopping around at that age, and dancing with all the younger dancers.  He was yelling the upcoming moves in my ear, and all I could think was to not kick him in the shins!  This is us lindy hopping.

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Later that night we went back to the venue for the Gordon Webster 9-Piece Band.  I really enjoyed this band.  We took a big group photo from Saturday night, and it includes those of us who came from WVU and friends.

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The picture below is of my roommates for the weekend.

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I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was dancing the whole time!  We did walk to get something to eat, and passed this older gentleman feeding the birds.  He said, “I get in trouble if they catch me doing this”.  He was adorable, as I think most senior citizens are adorable.

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I had such a great time this past weekend.  The only thing I would have changed is to have a certain friend with us, but he is currently in California.  He needs to move back.  I have new swing moves I want to work on and master.

My next lindy exchange is the Lindy Focus in Asheville, NC at the end of December.  I’m hoping to meet up with my friend from high school for a bit, since this is my hometown.  This would be you, Ti!

 

6. West Virginia – The ladies visiting

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This is after our excursion to Washington, DC, and we are in West Virginia.  I am actually leaving for work, and they are getting ready to head back to NC.  This is the second time they have visited me in WV since I have been here.  They don’t care for it too much.  They like living down by the beach, too.

They think the drive is too long, and it may be too long for them.  I think it takes them 8 hours to get up here, maybe more.  I don’t think it would take so long if they didn’t stop at every craft and fabric store they pass on way.  It is a given with them.

I’m usually the one who travels to see them.  I get in my “90’s concert in the car” mode, and jam away while I drive.

This will count for our visiting of WV, slowly filling up our 50-states map.  After the DC trip, I need a vacation for myself.