Rafting down the Nantahala

Last Friday Seth had went rafting down the Nantahala River in NC, and it was such a blast! I used to go down rivers all the time (usually on a canoe or a raft, sometimes on a tube), and it had been about 8 years since the last time I was on a river. I really missed it! On the way down to NC we accidentally took this crazy road through the mountains that made us both nauseous...turns out that road has a name: The Tail of the Dragon.

Yep. According to the website, it is America's #1 motorcycle and sports car road with 318 sharp curves in 11 miles. There were hundreds of motorcycles on the road with us, and photographers at every other curve taking pictures of them. The road was crazy (and we took a different route back), but I have to admit...I feel kind of proud that we "conquered" it. Apparently that's a big deal! We even saw a church in the town after that stretch of road that said, "Dragon Slayers welcome!" I'm not sure if we count at Dragon Slayers though since we were in a 4-door sedan ;)

Now...on to the rafting pictures! We took one of those disposable waterproof cameras, and I'm so glad we did. Here we are right before getting into the water for the first time, all excited.

The Nantahala is a freezing river, so I opted for the wetsuit :)

It was not always this calm, by the way...these are just the only times we could take pictures.

Of course we had to stop for a Toastchee break...

At the end of the the 8 miles is Nantahala Falls and a camera to catch your expression as you go down them. There was a specific way to go down the waterfall (they told us all about it at the beginning of the day), and Seth hit it right on the mark. Here he is right before the waterfall:

And here is right after:

Way to go, Seth! I, on the other hand, did NOT hit it right on the mark. I was doing fine until this jerk in a kayak came up to me right before the waterfall and said, "Good luck...you know 1 in 4 ducks [the individual kayak/rafts we were in] flip on that waterfall." Of course I flew into a panic and paddled over to the side to freak out / contemplate if I should go down or not. I decided to do it, but pulling over threw me off course and I couldn't straighten up in time for the waterfall. So....I headed towards the waterfall BACKWARDS. My duck turned a little to the side just in time for me to see what I was in for:

Heh heh :) Its funny now, but at the time I was terrified! I ended up making it down the falls just fine...I didn't flip or anything:

What a relief! Here we are the bridge over the river before heading home:

Our hands were sore from paddling and we were exhausted, but the whole experience was so exhilarating and I can't wait to do it again next year.

What a perfect weekend

It was filled with all of my favorite things...

Trying out new recipes, like the lemony chickpea stir-fry below and my first crack at homemade hummus (I'm definitely using less tahini next time).

Hanging out with the Hub and my sweet baby dog Ruby on a windy Sunday afternoon...

And completing a house project that has been stumping me for a year now: the den! Here it is before, covered in pink like all the other rooms used to be.

I had the hardest time deciding on a color for this room. At one point or another, Seth and I contemplated all of the following colors: a mocha coffee color, a chocolate brown, and fuchsia. Then about a week ago it occurred to me that I had a whole gallon of the yellow that originally was going to go in the dining room. I put that on the wall (above, to the left of the window), and it just didn't seem right...too pastel or something. Seth had the genius idea to try the yellow from our last apartment (Benjamin Moore, Semolina), and it ended up being the perfect color! Here's the finished product:

Is there anything better than making a huge change in your house without spending a dime? We rearranged the furniture a bit too, and now I just love being in that room. There are still a lot of things I need to do in there (switch out the desk, paint some of the furniture, and hang pictures & drapes), but for now I'm thrilled with the improvement. There are no more pink rooms left in the house - yea!

Wish I could have been there

Last night Barack Obama came to speak at Stacy's hometown high school in Virginia!! As most of you know, I am a HUGE Obama fan and the idea of him speaking at my high school would blow me away. This wasn't my high school, but it is still so exciting! Especially since Stacy's hometown is a small one, so its that much more of a big deal that he was there.

Stacy's mom said he did an great job, which is no surprise. There are more pictures from the event here.

Beach pictures

Here are the pictures from our beach trip a few weeks ago. They are all from a $3 disposable camera, so the quality isn't great. I sort of like the look of them, though...they look old or something.

The water on the last day was the calmest I've ever seen...it was like being in a giant bathtub, except the water was the perfect temperature and completely refreshing.

Seth trying to hack on the beach.

Seth's feet refuse to tan :)

That's all I've got for today. I don't feel so great...the weather might be messing with me (its been fluctuating from rainy and chilly to hot and muggy for the past couple of days). These pictures make me miss being at the beach (aka. the best place on earth)!

Transition pieces finished

As you know, when we moved into the house it was carpeted. That was the first thing to go, but what remained were the carpet gripper transition pieces between the linoleum-floored rooms into the wood-floored rooms. I covered them with layers of tape initially as a quick fix, but somehow that tape ended up being a long-term fix. I can't tell you how many times I scratched my foot on those things! Ridiculous.

About a month ago I finally ripped them up with my trusty crow bar (same tool we used to pull up the wooden carpet gripper nailed around the perimeter of every room). I bought some wood transition pieces at Home Depot and sawed them down to the correct length in the store.

Then all I had to do was sand and stain them.

Today I installed them, and voila!

No more tape and scratched feet! This has been on my to-do list for almost a year, and it feels grrrrreat to finally cross it off.

Catching up

Sorry for the long blog absence. I always forget how busy summer can be, and these last few weeks have been a whirlwind. In addition to lots of stuff going on, I switched to a new work schedule that's been a pretty big adjustment. Since I last posted almost 3 weeks ago (yikes!), Seth and I have been to the beach for our vacation, my mom-in-law had a birthday, and I finally made some progress on staining and installing the transition pieces in our house. It only took a year for me to get around to it, but better late than never, right?!

The other night I tried a new recipe for edamame & roasted garlic grilled cheese sandwiches. I really want to start eating more edamame (soybeans)....soy is one of the few non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which is great since I don't like fish and Seth is a vegetarian. By the way, when I was making sure I had my facts straight, this was the ad on the health benefits of soy website:

Only in the US would someone come up with bacon mac & cheese. Barf!

Anyway, back to the edamame - it was my first time to cook with it, and it was inexpensive and delicious. I also got to use my food processor for the first time. I used to always have to skip recipes that required one, but not anymore...thanks, Mom!

Speaking of moms, Mama Tee had a great birthday at Pelancho's last Friday:

This was after a bunch of people rushed over, put a sombrero on her head, sang, and fed her a honey & whip cream topped sopapilla (and got it all over her face...you can still spot a little on her chin!). It was hilarious....Happy birthday, Mama Tee! You were a good sport :)

I'll be posting pictures of the latest house project and from vacation soon. I just need to finish up a couple more things, plus I'm waiting for the rest of the beach pictures to be developed (we took a disposable camera to the beach). Later!