Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Visiting Asheville

A trip to Asheville today with Frank had me dragging out the camera for a few photo ops. So to backtrack a bit:

On Friday, I took the day off to finish a scrapbook for two KC retirees and the Baseball Media Guide for Matt's team. I ended up answering phone call after phone call and email after email until it was 4:00 and I had done nothing but work on my day off! So I decided I would take Monday instead. Little did I know then that I would end up sick (same thing Frank had last week) for the weekend. Anyway, this morning when I got up I still felt lousy so I told Matt I was taking half sick day and half personal because I knew I had to start feeling better soon and I still had to get Matter's book to the printer in Asheville. (I did manage to finish the scrapbook around 11pm last night.)

So today I finished up the media guide and went to meet the printer in Asheville, Stew Auten, who by some miracle, assures me he can have it ready by Friday. Afterwards, we went to JC Penney to find some workpants for Frank. Frank worked 72 hours last week after being sick for four days, so before I got sick, I had promised to take him to dinner tonight. He chose Carrabas in Asheville (he doesn't like the one in Arden.) So we headed there after our mini-shopping trip. I was ready for a nap but the thought of Carrabas' garlic mashed potatoes won me over. I hadn't eaten anything but a bowl of chicken noodle and some mini saltines since Saturday so I knew I wouldn't feel like a full meal but the potatoes did sound good. We arrived and took our favorite seat in front of our favorite chef who fixed us a sample of lobster stuffed ravioli. I have to admit, seafood was not on my list of things I wanted to eat, but I tried it anyway. The lobster was so sweet and not at all "seafoody" so it was delicious. I had my taters and Frank had his calamari and we left fat dumb and happy!

Somehow, we ended up driving through downtown where we saw lots of musicians and some great architecture. One of these days, I am going to spend at least a day photographing all the cool buildings in Asheville. But I did manage to get a few shots from the car:

The top of the S&W Cafeteria Building - which has recently been re-opened. Read more about it by clicking here.

Pritchard Park Sculpture

This guy was actually pretty good, his tune sounded a lot like Matt Nathanson

And this one in front of Malaprop's had gathered an audience by the time we circled around to get another photo

Somehow we made our way out to Montford. The homes we saw there are in direct opposition to what I had always termed, "montford people." The homes were old and very stately and we were very much in "want." The neighborhoods were just beautiful.

Homewood ~ is a restored 1920's stone manor located in Asheville's post-Victorian historic district of Montford. The castle features original hardwood floors, cherry walls, 20 foot ceilings, grand Appalachian stone fireplaces and alabaster sconces. Originally built as a private home, the elegance of the 1920's is translated with luxurious wrought iron chandeliers casting graceful lighting. It is easy to imagine F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and The Vanderbilts listening to Bela Bartok play Mrs. Caroles' grand piano as the notes drift through the halls. (Or so, their website claims!)

Neat old apartment building ~ The Frances

Beautiful tiles line steps outside a Montford cottage

Signs of Spring are starting to sprout up everywhere

As we drove we saw the sign for the Riverside Cemetary. I am a history buff, so I said, "Let's go!" It's really cool when you feed your driver Carrabas food before asking them to drive through cemeteries, because then they will usually do what you ask, no matter how weird they think you are :)

Simply put!

Mostly World War I Veterans from the few I got to read

A bit of history

Final solitude

Some of the tombstones were very elaborate

And some held some pretty important people in Asheville's history, including this mausoleum for the Von Ruck family.

Dr. Karl Von Ruck was very influential in creating Asheville as a center for tuberculosis care. Von Ruck arrived in Asheville in 1886 and opened the very successful Winyah Sanitarium two years later. In addition to treating tuberculosis patients, Von Ruck also studied the disease. After the discovery of tuberculin in 1890, the microbe that causes tuberculosis, Von Ruck focused his studies entirely on developing a vaccine. When Von Ruck's son, Silvio, joined him in 1902, Von Ruck was able to devote all of his time to his studies.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Madness

So, who has done their bracket? Games start this weekend. I have to admit I joined two pools on Facebook and I picked Carolina to win in one and Duke in the other. I know all those diehard UNC and Duke fans think you have to choose one or the other, but unless it comes down to the very last game it's hard for me to choose. A lot of times for me it's based on the players on those teams at the time. When they go against each other, I am usually for Carolina. But if Coach K has a special group of boys playing, I could be swayed to the boys in darker blue.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hillary

That's Hillary in the dark teal sweater, giving me the "I see you with your camera smile." Hope today will be extra special for Hillary. She is like one of my kids!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

West routs Polk County, 17-6

West Henderson celebrates as Dillon Baker crosses the plate after hitting a home run against Polk County on Tuesday. (Photo by Mike Dirks) That's Matt in the middle! See more of Mike's photos by clicking here!

By Dean Hensley
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.

COLUMBUS — West Henderson’s baseball team once again has plenty of firepower, and that’s exactly what Polk County coach Ty Stott wanted his team to see early in the season.

The Falcons exploded for five home runs Tuesday night en route to a 17-6, six-inning mercy-rule win at Polk. In three games so far this season, seven different West batters have hit homers.

Leading the way Tuesday was cleanup hitter Forrest Koontz, who went 4-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBIs.

“We knew West was going to be good. They just have too many hitters,” Stott said. “This is going to really help us down the road, facing tough non-conference teams like this. I know it’s going to help us. It’s got to help us.”

Tyler Isgett started the home run derby with a two-run shot off Polk starter Danny Fraga in the top of the third that made it 7-0. In the next inning, Tyler Austin ripped a two-run shot over the center-field fence and two batters later, Dillon Baker repeated Austin’s blast with another two-run shot. That ended the evening for Fraga, who went 2 1/3 innings and gave up nine runs, four earned, off seven hits with two walks and a strikeout.

“Offensively, you’ve got to be happy when you put 17 runs on the board. So, I was happy with that. But defensively, we made too many mistakes, and I think we still have a long way to go from where we want to be,” Falcon coach Jim Hyatt said after his team improved to 3-0.

Stott went with Brandon Jolley to start off the top of the fourth, and the homers continued. Koontz hit a solo shot to center, and then things got a little testy when Jolley plunked Austin. But order was restored, and Jolley didn’t hit another batter. Taylor Reeves then ripped a two-run homer, and Matt Roberts followed with an RBI double to make it 13-0 after 3 1/2 innings.

But the Wolverines (2-1) didn’t quit, scoring two runs off two West errors in the bottom of the fourth. Polk then held West scoreless in the top of the fifth and kept the game going with three runs in the bottom half of the inning that included a two-run double from J.P. Ruth.

The Falcons answered with four runs in the top of the sixth to push the lead back up to more than 10 runs and end it.

“We should’ve ended it after five, but those back-to-back errors killed us. I was happy to see us respond with four more runs to finish it off,” Hyatt said.

Both teams return to action Friday. West is at home against Hendersonville, and Polk is on the road at Brevard.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Day at the Park

It's truly amazing the work that has been done on the baseball field since I was in high school 25 years ago. What used to serve as a backup parking lot for football games is now one of the premier high school baseball fields in the southeast. Yesterday, I spent a good part of the day walking around and observing the park, the parents working together to spruce up the place, to install the electrical components that will make the new major league scoreboard light up, making food to feed the hungry players and coaches. Sure, I know what you're thinking, while they were working, what was I doing? Well, someone has to document all the excitement! Here are a few of my favorites from today.

Coach Seneker's little girl, Abigail

Matter after his Taylor-made haircut!

Matthew down at the batting cages

Forrest taking batting practice

Daniel playing some "tee" ball

Matthew waiting to take his turn on the tee

It always seems like these two are practicing together

Kyle takes a few swings, too

Taylor, Matt's personal barber, and TA

How many high schools have one of these? Amazing facility!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Happy Birthday, Angie

I know it's just your birthday, but I love this picture of you with your beautiful kids! So Happy Birthday, little sister! I love you and hope you have an extra special day!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Evening Snowfall

I have so wanted it to snow and snow BIG! Today, I got my wish. These are my pics from the happy event!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mills River Restaurant photo shoot

Frank and I had lunch today at Mills River Restaurant. The owner gave us a complimentary lunch in exchange for the photos I took for him to use in some advertising. Their cakes looked delicious and honestly, I so wish I had taken a piece of the coconut cake with me!

Strawberry Cheesecake

Carrot Cake, Coconut Cake, and Strawberry Cheesecake
Carrot Cake

It's snowing!