Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ribs and Dogwoods

At the beginning of the soccer season, we invited Connie and Beth to come out to Mebane to watch the kids play soccer, and then have lunch at The TravelingRoths HQ. Their schedules finally worked out on the last game of the season, and fortuitously, on the day of the Mebane Dogwood Festival, whatever that means.

So after watching the post-forfeit scrimmage, we came back to the house and tore into three racks of baby-backs (recipe here), the once and future beans (here), and a couple of fine mojitos (here) to cool the fire.
Rib EatersRib Eaters Hosted on Zooomr

While we could still walk (before the ribs-induced coma set in) we headed downtown for the Mebane Dogwood Festival. This little gala baffles me, as I think I've alluded to before, but I believe Zoe summed it up perfectly on the walk downtown:

I know why we celebrate Halloween. It's all about dressing up in costumes and getting candy. But why do we celebrate the Dogwood Festival?"

That question shall go forever unanswered. The dogwoods that festoon the streets of Mebane were absolutely gorgeous. . . . . four weeks ago when they were in bloom. We don't sing Dogwood carols, or watch the Dogwood Parade, or even exchange Dogwood cards or gifts, but I'm not the one shun a free party regardless of the alleged reason for its existence.

There were three stages set up. On the 4th Street Stage, a classic rock band was playing, and shortly after I recognized the beautiful Rickenbacker 4001 in the hands of the bassist, I recognized the bassist.

Jeff and RicJeff and Ric Hosted on Zooomr

It was none other than Jeff Hatley, who I had played with in Godspell.

Moving down the street, we took a left on Clay Street and headed down to the Third Street Stage, where a couple of guys I knew from the Mebane Acting Company were performing improv in the style of "Whose Line is it Anyway".
Improv PleadingImprov Pleading Hosted on Zooomr

William Rushin

Improv StickupImprov Stickup Hosted on Zooomr

David Lynch

In the audience were Alexis and Nancy Drago
Nancy and AlexisNancy and Alexis Hosted on Zooomr

We got a couple of ride tickets, and the kids rode three things each: TR, tbe Tubs-O-Fun, and the giant swing (twice)
Swingin'Swingin' Hosted on Zooomr

Zoe did the swings, and the bounce house (twice)
Color JumperColor Jumper Hosted on Zooomr

We passed a lot of booths, with everything from people selling candles, toys, and jewelery, to various food vendors and church fundraisers. Mebane Presbyterian Church had a very noticeable abscence, again. The kids needed to get their snow cone on, and boy howdy, did they. Good thing we were outside, and within walking distance of home. Connie and Beth checked out various booths and shops, and even bought something from our neighbor's store, The Elegant Relic.

Back to the other end of Clay Street, there was a big band with a brass section performing on the 5th Street Stage, but what caught my attention was an Italian Ice vendor. Now, I'm no stranger to Italian Ice (often redundantly referred to as Italian Water Ice), but it is an extremely rare commodity here in the South, so I pounced on the opportunity to indulge in a little Pina Colada. Connie and Beth had never had Italian ice, so I got a couple extra spoons and made converts out of them. Conquering the South, once again.

We headed back and called it a day. Connie and Beth's first visit to Mebane was a huge success, and if they didn't have a sweet lake house to spend Memorial Day weekend at, maybe we could lure them back here for a Pig Pickin'. But there's always next year, and as every child knows, Dogwood Festival comes this time each year.

Oh Dogwood tree,
Oh Dogwood tree. . .

A couple more random pics from the day.

Reckless Abandon

Mushroom Hats

Blue Rose

The Scent of Color

Fair Goer

Improv William

Thai Chicken Satay

Spring Soccer, Week 8

The final game of the regular season was upon is. Saturday at 12:30 against the #1 Flames, who have allowed a grand total of two goals against them the entire season. This could get ugly. As an added bonus, the weather was perfect, and Connie and Beth had made the trek to Mebane to see the kids play some soccer.

But there was no game. Tristan and Zoe were the only Strikers to show up. The other team's players and coaches were there, the referees were there, but the remainder of the Strikers were not. After a couple of unanswered calls to the coach, the officials declared a forfeit.

Since everyone was in a soccer mood, an ad hoc scrimmage was arranged. Zoe played for baby blue, and Tristan played for highway worker orange. Most of the Flames played, and even a couple of kids who weren't on the team played. There was one goal scored, and it was from Tristan.

Temporary TeammateTemporary Teammate Hosted on Zooomr

Zoe looked a little lonely as the only fullback.
Half the TeamHalf the Team Hosted on Zooomr

Coming up this weekend, the end-of-season festival. Last season, the Strikers were the only team that went undefeated in the festival. This year, we'll hopefully they'll at least show up.
Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Few Good Finds

Ham's Restaurant
1610 South Church Street
Burlington, NC 27215
(336) 570-3099

Owing to a comment by sister-in-law Shelley Roth on a previous post, we put Ham's Restaurant on our dining agenda. She said,

I LOVE Ham's! You should check it out if you've never been there. I seem to remember some really good potato chips (and I'm not a chip fan).

Well, I am a chip fan, big time, and there is nothing finer than a homemade potato chip. Shelley was referring to the Ham's Restaurant on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, but there's also one about ten minutes away from us in Burlington. After checking the 'net, and finding out that even though Ham's is a chain (something that makes a restaurant lose points in my book,) it is a small, privately-owned, non-franchised chain. . . kind of like In-N-Out Burger. . . so it didn't lose many points. So where to go for lunch? Ham's!

Ham'sHam's Hosted on Zooomr

We got a corner booth in the sunny, non-smoking section, and our friendly waitress asked if we wanted to start with a basket of chips. Yeah, I guess so, if you're going to twist our arms and all.

They looked marvelous.
Basket of Fresh Fried LoveBasket of Fresh Fried Love Hosted on Zooomr

And they tasted great too, with just salt and pepper, and some ranch dressing on the side. Sometimes places that make the chips from scratch give them some sort of seasoning, or cheese crumbles, or scallions, but these were spot-on just as they were. We made quick work of them.

Zoe ordered spaghetti and meatballs (the good little Italian girl that she is. . . sort of), Tristan got the mini-corn dog bites, I had the Caribbean chicken wrap, and Jennifer had a bacon cheddar burger, claiming that she hadn't had a real burger in a long time.
Ham's BurgerHam's Burger Hosted on Zooomr

The kids also got Shirley Temples to drink, and they were infinitely refillable, which made T&Z happy, and were included with their meal cost, making Jennifer and I happy.

We were very pleased with Ham's, and will definitely return. Excellent call, Shelley Roth.

Lake Michael Park

On the way home we searched out Lake Michael Park, a lake and a park (duh) that belongs to the City of Mebane. It's a 66 acre lake surrounded by a 200 acre park. You can fish there (license-free for Mebane residents), launch your up-to-17' boat there, play volleyball, picnic, rent a paddle boat or John boat, take a ride ($1) on a pontoon boat, and hike. There are currently two semi-primitive trails that appear to have had a fair amount of eagle scout work done on the convenient parts.

Not having planned on hiking, we didn't bring water nor bother to pick up a trail map, but when we found ourselves near a trail head, we started off on it anyway. We hiked around the lake for about an hour, and then realizing that the trail dead-ended, turned around and came back. I got this shot of Jennifer making a creek crossing.

Modified Star JumpModified Star Jump Hosted on Zooomr

She didn't want me to take this picture, for some reason.

It turned out to be a great little park, and we will definitely be returning. We're also thinking of initiating a Traveling Roths' Sunday Dinner kind of a thing involving cooking out with guests after church. Stay tuned for that one.
Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring Soccer, Week 7

The game against the Hot Shots, with a late evening start, meaning that there aren't a lot of pictures. . . which may be a good thing. The Strikers lost, I don't know, 2 or 3 to 0.

Since there's not a lot to say about the game, here are the pictures.
WTF?WTF? Hosted on Zooomr

Tristan didn't actually say this, it just looks like that's what he may have been thinking. . . paraphrased into adult language, of course.

DribblerDribbler Hosted on Zooomr
The kids have a standing offer from me that I'll give them $5 if they can dribble five times without the ball hitting the ground. There's also a $10 offer. So far this has cost me nothing.

Motion in the Z-axisMotion in the Z-axis Hosted on Zooomr

Is this game over yet?Is this game over yet? Hosted on Zooomr

The next, and last, regular season game is Saturday the 28th at 12:30. We're scheduled to have some special guests watch the game with us, and then come back to the compound for ribs.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Postcards from Down Under: The Ghan

Continuing in our series of post cards from Sean and Jeanine in Australia, we present this beautiful picture of "The Ghan."

Postcard The GhanPostcard The Ghan Hosted on Zooomr

Jennifer, Dave, Tristan, and Zoe,

We have now traveled to 4 of the 7 states of Australia - New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia - currently we are in a train "The Ghan" riding through the Northern Territory to Alice Springs. There is nothing but red clay, short scruffy bushes, and the occasional red gum tree, but we have seen a few kangaroos bounding buy. A few days ago we were on Kangaroo Island where the wildlife is plentiful. We saw kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, goannas, echidras, venomous tiger snakes, possums, fairy penguins, pelicans, NZ fur seals, Australian sea lions, and various species of colorful birds. Next we are headed into the desert outback to camp for a few days.

Jeanine and Sean
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm Special!

I forgot my ID badge at work, again. That makes twice in one week. On the walk to the security desk to get a temporary ID, I looked down to confirm that I was indeed not wearing my ID when I noticed this:

Could I feel like more of a jackass? Yes! Not ten minutes later, I came to the realization that my ID was in my pocket the entire time, and I also managed to get myself locked out of my computer account. This necessitated a 10 minute call to the IT Help Desk. . . with nine minutes of that having the friendly gentleman from India not believing me. And it wasn't even 8 o'clock!

I thought maybe I should just go home then, but fortunately, the jackassery ended right there, and the rest of the day was salvageable. To my co-workers who read this: You didn't even notice! Thank you.

Postcards from Down Under: Tasmania

As a new feature here, and keeping with the theme of Traveling, I'm uploading some post cards we've received lately.

Jeanine is Jennifer's cousin, and Sean is Jeanine's husband. They're currently living in Australia where Jeanine is a substitute veterinarian at a zoo in Sydney. In addition to taking fantastic pictures, they also blog their experiences Down Under at Sean and Jeanine (dot com). I highly recommend you add their blog to your feed reader.

Today's postcard comes from Tasmania

Postcard TasmaniaPostcard Tasmania Hosted on Zooomr

Jennifer, Dave, Tristan, and Zoe,

We probably should've sent you a postcard with a photo of the opera house or harbor bridge but we picked this one up in Tasmania which remains one of our favorite side trips and two of our favorite animals are on the front.

We have been enjoying your blog. In fact we have been checking it faithfully and are impressed with all the posts!
Jeanine and Sean
Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spring Soccer, Week 6

Two games in two days, how exciting!

Friday night the Strikers "versed" Martinho's. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, and since the MYSA (Mebane Youth Soccer Association) website has a "?" for the score, I don't remember the specifics, other than that the Strikers lost. And this despite the fact that the Strikers were playing with Cameron, the star of last season who was recruited to a U10 traveling team, for the first game this year. Cameron didn't score, but I think Tristan may have.

It was a good night for photography, none the less, so here are the requisite photos.
Fullback DanceFullback Dance Hosted on Zooomr

Zoe RightZoe Right Hosted on Zooomr

Zoe LeftZoe Left Hosted on Zooomr

Game FaceGame Face Hosted on Zooomr

Tristan LeftTristan Left Hosted on Zooomr

Tristan RightTristan Right Hosted on Zooomr

ConcentrationConcentration Hosted on Zooomr

Saturday morning was a game against the team from Ham's Restaurant, where I understand the menu does not just include cured pork products. This was a tough game for the Strikers because they only had six players show up, meaning that everybody played the whole game. With that being said, they still managed a tie, 1-1, with Tristan scoring the only goal. (I thought they lost, 2-1, but evidently one of the Ham's goals didn't count.)

The day was overcast, so I only managed this one photo that I thought was decent.

Right HookRight Hook Hosted on Zooomr

The Strikers next game is Friday 20th April at 7:30 against the HotShots
Saturday, April 07, 2007

Hey Dad, it's snowing!

Weather is a pretty cool thing. A few days ago it was in the mid-80s (degrees F) here. The kids were down at the coast, swimming in the ocean, the lawn had been mowed several times already, and a lot of spring planting had already taken place. The dogwoods were in full blossom, which means the Mebane Dogwood Festival was only a month away. The furnace hadn't kicked on in a long time, and we knew we were soon to be using the air conditioning again.

Then late in the week it started getting colder. Highs in the mid-50s (F), lows in the 30s. Friday night we go to bed to the sound of rain, and Saturday morning wake up with snow on everything.

Spring Snow in DixieSpring Snow in Dixie Hosted on Zooomr

It's a pretty weird scene... first, because we don't see all that much snow in North Carolina anyway, and second because we never (in my recollection) see snow while all the trees have green leaves on them.

Tomorrow is Easter, and temperature at Sunrise Service time (6:30 am) is supposed to be below zero! (degrees C).

The Rabbit of Easter; he bring of the firewood.
Friday, April 06, 2007

Spring Break 2007

Jennifer and the kids had the week off for spring break, so they were able to get out of town for a few days, and Rabin and I had a low-chaos house to ourselves for a little while.

They went to the North Carolina coast, specifically Emerald Isle. They got a beachfront motel for cheap, and since the hotel was nearly empty, got a free upgrade to an oceanfront room. Bonus!

April's been pretty warm, so naturally, the kids had to check out the water.

What Happens Next?What Happens Next? Hosted on Zooomr

And despite the water probably being a degree or two short of 70F, they went swimming.
Sand SurfersSand Surfers Hosted on Zooomr

And played on the beach,
Super HeroesSuper Heroes Hosted on Zooomr

and flew their kite,
Dutch KiteDutch Kite Hosted on Zooomr

and got cleaned up and posed for some pictures
Evening PortraitEvening Portrait Hosted on Zooomr

And Thursday was Laura (Jennifer's mom's) 60th Birthday! What could be a better way to spend your birthday than a day at the beach.
Laura's 60Laura's 60 Hosted on Zooomr

So other than what appears to be a couple of cases of food poisoning after eating at Bushwackers Restaurant, 100 Bogue Inlet Drive, Emerald Isle, NC 28594 (highly not recommended), it was a great little trip.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Who's Here?

This blog uses Google Analytics to keep track of hits (readers) to the blog. It doesn't show who is visiting, but it does show where they are visiting from. It also gives information on how they got here, and other things that are important to people who use their site to earn revenue. I just use it out of curiousity, since I never know who's visiting unless they comment, either on the blog or to me personally.

But Google Analytics provides me with this cool graphic.

In the Geo Map Overlay, hits (visits) are indicated by orange dots. The larger the dot, the more hits from that area. From this map you can see that most of my visits come from the east coast of the United States. There are also hits coming from South America, Europe, Asia, and sometimes Australia.

The towns indicated on this map include:

North America
  • Seattle
  • St. Paul
  • El Segundo
  • Kingwood
  • Beaufort
  • Atlanta
  • Norcross
  • Graham
  • Vanceboro
  • Rockville
  • Quentin
  • Frederick
  • Birdsboro
  • Mountain Top
  • Pine Forge
  • Cranbury
South America
  • Recife
  • Fontaney-sous-Bois
  • Reigate
  • Xian
  • Beijing
  • Soul
  • Pusan
  • Fuzhou
  • Lishui
Now some of these I can figure out, but some I have no idea, particularly the ones outside of the US. So if you're visiting, welcome! Leave a note in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at and say where you're reading this from.
Sunday, April 01, 2007


About three weeks ago, Jeff Overstreet (the organist/choir director at Mebane Presbyterian Church) accosts me in the church hallway with "You're just the person I was looking for."

I have the feeling of deja vu all over again.

"Are you busy the last weekend of March?"

"Why?" I respond, suspiciously.

"The Mebane Acting Company is doing 'Godspell', and we need a drummer. Are you interested?"

What do I know about Godspell? I've heard of it, but that's about it. I don't know any of the music, nor do I know the plot, other than I assume it has something to do with God. Do I want to do it? Sure, why not? I haven't played in about a year, but I know it'll probably fun. So with the boss's OK, I agree to do it.

So three nights before the show opens, I (along with Luis Rodriguez, the guitarist, and Jeff Hatley, the bassist) attend our first practice; a technical/dress rehearsal. I'd never met Luis or Jeff H., but I could tell from the first song that this was going to rock. These guys could play! What a nice change it was to be playing with semi-pros.

That first rehearsal was the most together I'd seen one that far in advance of opening night. The actors could act. The singers could sing, and the band, despite basically sight-reading the music, could've faked our way through the show that night if we had to.

So Tuesday and Wednesday were more technical/dress rehearsals, each progressively better than the last. The cast ranged in age from young high school kids up to middle aged theater veterans, and all of them really knew their stuff. We were performing in a church's fellowship hall that could seat about 120. As an added bonus for me, their praise band had a decent drumset in the room, so I didn't have to bring so much as sticks to rehearsal. It's always a hassle performing at high school auditoriums because that means carting all my gear in and out every night due to my lack of confidence in the security of those places.

Thursday was opening night, and the show was well received by the 100 or so $5 patrons. Friday night was sold out at 120+ people. Saturday night Jennifer, Tristan, and Zoe attended. I took the kids backstage with me so they could see more of what's really involved in the theater business.

I got a couple of less-than-good shots of the cast warming up.
Matt played "Matt"

Wayne played "Jesus"

Katie played "Katie," and the aforementioned Jeff Overstreet played the piano.

Tristan was in charge of the triangle.
TrianglistTrianglist Hosted on Zooomr

Here's Luis warming up.
Luis RodriguezLuis Rodriguez Hosted on Zooomr

In retrospect, I'm really disappointed in the photos I took. The young female members of the cast were far more photogenic then the pictures of the dudes posted here, and everyone would've enjoyed looking at them more, plus with all the practices, I could've gotten some shots of the actual show that couldn't have been done during the performance. I blame my lack of proper photo equipment (partially), and will use that as an excuse to accelerate the timeline of my intended "nice camera" purchase.

The line outside the hall was a long one.
Theatre at HawfieldsTheatre at Hawfields Hosted on Zooomr

Tristan and Zoe found a friend to wait with.
PreShowPreShow Hosted on Zooomr

The show went great, and was a TON of fun. It usually works that way. By the time you're comfortable enough with the music to really have fun with the improvisation and ad-libbing. . . the show's over. Everyone enjoyed it, especially the kids. One of the girls sang right to Zoe at one point. After the show, Zoe made a point of seeking out two of the girls and meeting them. I'm afraid she may have caught the acting bug just by getting to close to someone who already had it.

Next show. . . . who knows, but I hear The Mebane Acting Company is doing a children's musical called "The Nifty Fifties" in the fall. . . .
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