Saturday, March 30, 2013

More Fun in NC - Bowling, Birds & Birthdays

Sorry I've been MIA this week - it's been pretty hectic since getting back to Boston!  I thought I'd share a few pictures from some of my other adventures while in NC.

First of all, I can't believe it's taken me this long to post a picture of my car for the week.  If you weren't convinced I have one of the coolest grandma's ever before...this'll win you over.  I drove her Neon Turbo Bug all was so much fun!  It sure did zip around.

Friday morning, I got up pretty early to put in a few hours of work, then we took the dogs for a long walk around the neighborhood.  Afterwards, we decided to go bowling at Clayton's fabulous Rainbow Lanes.  The day before, I'd called to make sure there would be lanes open on a Friday.  The worker on the phone said that we should definitely plan to be out of there by 5:30 because there are NO lanes open on Friday nights due to leagues, and recommended we come around 3:30.  With his description of how popular Fridays were, we were expecting a semi-full house.  Turns out it wasn't that necessary to come early.  It was just us and another duo there - we basically had the place to ourselves!

Poor Mark in his crazy-colored, size 14 bowling shoes.  

Dad, of course, got a 176 on the first game.  (Last time they went bowling he got a 200...crazy, huh?)  The surprise was MY TURKEY!  Yep...I got three strikes in a row in the 9/10th frame of our last game.  Talk about going out with a bang!

Such a fun time.  Mom dubbed our lane "The Lauren Alford Memorial Lane" because of my...err...interesting (incorrect) form.  I have a tendency of letting go of the ball too late, semi-launching it down the lane.  Oops. got me a turkey...whatever works!

Since I was working from home, I spent a lot of time at my parent's kitchen table.  They have a beautiful backyard, which turns into a bird sanctuary in the spring and summer.  Most of the time you can see 12 male cardinals out there!  It was such a nice thing to watch while I worked.  Here are a few shots of the birds:

I also enjoyed hanging out with the pups (if you couldn't tell).  It made me miss MINE a lot, though.

Sunday after church, mom drove me to Travis' parent's house.  He was done with his time at ECU's New Music Festival, so we had Sunday to spend with his family before heading back to Boston.  His birthday was the 27th, so it was a perfect time to celebrate with his family - after was the big 3-0!  His sister, Sarah, and her boyfriend, Michael, came down from Virginia Beach to hang out for the weekend, too.  Such fun!

Jenny made Travis' favorite cake for his birthday, red velvet - YUM.  She also decided 30 years deserved 30 candles.  It looked like his cake was a ball of fire!

After lunch, cake, and a little hanging out, it was time to head to the airport to fly home.

It was a fantastic trip more blog to go to cover the trip coming next week!  Check out the other blogs here:

Raleigh, Sewing, a New Picture, and Old Friends
Fun Lunch Breaks & My First Trip to Hula Girl
ECU's New Music Festival & Revisiting Greenville

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Revisiting ECU and the New Music Festival

Last year, Travis was commissioned to write a piece for East Carolina University's Chamber Wind Ensemble, to be premiered as part of the annual New Music Festival.  After months of work and rehearsals, the world premiere was Wednesday night...and it was great!

But let's start at the beginning of the day...

I took a half day off Wednesday so I could head to Greenville early and see my old roomie, Holly.  We had 3 hours to hang out (*yay*) so there was just enough time to hit the hot spots.  We decided to start with lunch at one of my favorite old places to eat, Mongolian House (now Mongolian Empire).  My sophomore year in college I found out I was allergic to soy, so I couldn't eat at any of our favorite Chinese restaurants anymore.  This was when Mongolian House became a staple in our lives (since you control what goes in your bowl).  All I have to do is have them clean the grill (really well) and use only clear sauces and I can feel a little normal!

Every time I go there I remember my first trip.  My freshman year at ECU, I parked my car in (what I didn't realize was) a fire zone.  I assumed that if the curb was white, I'd be safe...but no, STILL might be too close to a fire hydrant.  Anyway...I got towed.  I had no idea what to do, so I called my friend David to come help me find my car (he had a lot of experience with tickets/towing).  :)  Once we retrieved my car, he showed me the gem that is Mongolian House...only he didn't really explain how it worked.

I just knew you filled your bowl with what you liked.  Mmmmm...noodles, veggies, pineapple...looked good to me!

It wasn't until we got to the raw meat that I was confused.  WHY would people be eating raw meat?  I didn't think this was a sushi restaurant...and this didn't look like any sushi I'd seen before.  What in the world?  I just assumed it was some new trend, so I decided to skip the meat and go vegetarian.

Here's the station where you put your sauces on.  I just have them wash the grill, and use the clear sauces!!
It wasn't until I saw the large, round grill that I realized why it was ok to include meat.  Your bowl of goodies is tossed on the grill and cooked.  Oooooooh...oops!  Silly me.  :)

Mongolian House was fantastic as ever.  What a sweet trip down memory lane.

Mongolian House & Golden China on Urbanspoon

After lunch, we stopped by poor husband's hotel.  He'd come down with some kind of terrible stomach thing - either a bug or food poisoning (we're still not sure which), so he had to spend the afternoon in his hotel room.  After a few trips back and forth to Walgreens for Ginger Ale, Saltines, and such, we left husband to nap and headed toward campus.  All of my ECU shirts were 6 years old, so I needed to replace them with new ones.  After driving around downtown a little, we made a pit-stop by Holly's (hopeful) new house.

Hopefully she'll be in by the end of April!  It's super cute and has a great backyard.  It'll be perfect in the summer.  Now she just needs a dog.  ;)

After that we headed to McAllister's for dinner.  Poor Travis couldn't even come to his fun dinner before the concert.  :(  I was so flustered and worried about him that I totally forgot to take pictures.  Bad blogger.  Then it was time for the concert!!

I was excited to see the music building.  As we were graduating, they were starting construction on the expansion of the building, so we didn't get to spend any time in it.  Boy was it different!  They added a new lobby, many more large rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, and classrooms.  It was a much needed addition and it looked great!

Terry and I before the concert

A beautiful piece in front of the huge windows in the lobby.

There were amazing origami insects and birds hanging from the ceiling!

Waiting for the concert to start...

There was a huge group of family and friends that came to hear Trav's pieces....19 to be exact.  The concert was fantastic.  Laura Carter played the solo horn piece Travis wrote for her 4 years ago, You, Create a Diversion...  She's so impressive.  She calmly walks on stage and plays a crazy difficult piece like it's nothing.  Amazing.

The last piece on the concert was Travis' big premiere.  I couldn't WAIT to finally hear it after listening to the MIDI file for months and months as it was composed.  The ensemble did a wonderful job, but the stand-out player was Chris Ulffers on the contrabassoon.  As Travis was writing it I kept telling him...this is way too hard...oh Travis no one will be able to play this...don't you think you should change it?  Thankfully he didn't listen, because it was (obviously) perfect the way it was.

Talking a little about the piece before...

I'm so proud of him.

After the concert, I stayed the night with my old flute professor, Christine Gustafson.  It was so nice to have a few hours to catch up with her and hear what everyone has been up to, and see all the work they've done on their house.

Interested in what else we've been up to?  Check out our fun weekend, or why I love working from NC so much.